Family Rollers (Coraciidae)

Near Threatened

European Roller (Coracias garrulus)


French: Rollier d’Europe German: Blauracke Spanish: Carraca Europea
Other common names: Eurasian Roller, Blue Roller, Common Roller

Coracias Garrulus


, 1758,



Often regarded as forming a superspecies with C. caudatus and C. abyssinicus, though those two are probably more closely allied to each other than either is to present species. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
C. g. garrulus Linnaeus, 1758 - NW Africa, SW, SC & E Europe and Asia Minor E through NW Iran to SW Siberia.
C. g. semenowi Loudon & Tschusi, 1902 - Iraq and Iran (except NW) E to Kashmir, N to Turkmeniya, S Kazakhstan and NW China (W Sinkiang).

Descriptive notes

31–32 cm; male 127–160 g, female 130–154 g; birds wintering in Africa c. 120 g. A large roller without tail-streamers, proportionately larger-headed than... read more


Rather silent when not breeding. Typical call a nasal, grating, crow-like “rak”, single or doubled... read more


Warm, sunny lowlands, at up to 1000 m in Europe and 2000 m in Morocco, in open countryside with... read more

Food and feeding

Invertebrates, mainly beetles and other hard-bodied insects, and some small vertebrates: beetles of at least 14 families represented in... read more


Lays in May–Jul. Monogamous; normally solitary and territorial, with typical rolling and diving aerial display, rarely semi-colonial... read more


An intercontinental migrant, almost entire world population wintering in Africa S of Sahara. In... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. European population estimated in 1990’s at c. 16,000–24,000 pairs, with strongholds in Iberia (6600 pairs), and from Balkans to Belarus,... read more

Recommended citation

Fry, H., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2014). European Roller (Coracias garrulus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2014). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 2 September 2014).