Family Rollers (Coraciidae)

Least Concern

Broad-billed Roller (Eurystomus glaucurus)


French: Rolle violet German: Zimtracke Spanish: Carraca picogorda
Other common names: Cinnamon Roller

Coracias glaucurus

Statius Müller

, 1776,



Has been treated as forming a species-group with E. gularis (which see). Race suahelicus intergrades with afer and aethiopicus in N of its range; aethiopicus sometimes merged with afer or split between that race and suahelicus. Birds from C & S Uganda sometimes separated as rufobuccalis; populations from Angola to Mozambique and NE South Africa, on average slightly shorter-winged than suahelicus, sometimes separated as pulcherrimus. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. g. afer (Latham, 1790) – Senegal and Liberia E to Eritrea, S Sudan and Uganda (except NE), and S to Cabinda (N Angola) and W Kenya.
  • E. g. aethiopicus Neumann, 1905 – Ethiopia.
  • E. g. suahelicus Neumann, 1905 – S Somalia and NE Uganda S to Angola, N Botswana and NE South Africa; Zanzibar and Pemba I (off Tanzania).
  • E. g. glaucurus (Statius Müller, 1776) – Madagascar; migrates to SE & EC Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    27–29 cm; male 94–166 g, female 84–149 g. Nominate race has head and upperparts cinnamon-rufous, rump and uppertail-coverts blue, wings dark purple-blue... read more


    At rest typically gives 4–6 guttural, nasal, snarling or growling notes over period of 3–4 (... read more


    Woodland, wooded grassland, and cultivated country with some tall trees; also large clearings and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Almost entirely larger insects, mostly ants and termites, also beetles, and some grasshoppers, bush-crickets, cockroaches, bees, wasps,... read more


    Lays in Mar–Jul in W Africa, in Jan–Apr and Sept–Nov in E Africa, and in Sept–Dec in S Africa; breeds in Oct–... read more


    Nominate race in Madagascar migrates after breeding to Africa, where present throughout much of... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common and widespread in most of sub-Saharan Africa, and common throughout Madagascar except on the high plateau. Seasonal average density of 23... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Broad-billed Roller (Eurystomus glaucurus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 16 October 2019).