Family Rollers (Coraciidae)

Least Concern

European Roller (Coracias garrulus)


French: Rollier d’Europe German: Blauracke Spanish: Carraca europea

Coracias Garrulus


, 1758,



Often regarded as forming a species-group with C. caudatus and C. abyssinicus, although 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; winters in Africa S of Sahara.
  • C. g. semenowi Loudon & Tschusi, 1902 – Iraq and Iran (except NW) E to Kashmir, N to Turkmenistan, C Kazakhstan and possibly NW China (W Xinjiang); probably this race breeds in E Arabia; winters in E Africa S of Sahara.
  • 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 C Europe, 1200 m in S Spain, 2300 m in Morocco and... 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 (Least Concern). Large global population of up to half a million mature birds. European population (50–74% of global breeding range) estimated... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H., Boesman, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). European Roller (Coracias garrulus). 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 24 October 2019).