Wild Birds

Broad-billed Rollers

The Broad-billed Rollers, Eurystomus glaucurus, is a member of the roller family of birds that breeds across tropical Africa and Madagascar in all but the driest regions. It is a wet season breeder, which migrates from the northern and southern areas of its range towards the moister equatorial belt in the dry season.



The Broad-billed Rollers are 29-30 cm in length. It has a warm back and head, lilac fore neck, and breast, with the rest of the plumage mainly blue. The broad bill is bright yellow. Males and females look alike, but the juvenile is a drabber version of the adult, with a pale breast.

Broad-billed Rollers is striking in its strong direct flight, with the brilliant blues of the wings and tail contrasting with the brown back.

This is a species of open woodland with some tall trees, preferably near water. These rollers often perch prominently on trees, posts, or overhead wires, like giant shrikes.

They are inactive for most of the day, apart from chasing intruders, but in late afternoon they hunt for the swarming ants and termites on which they feed, sometimes in groups of 100 or more rollers.

They drink like swallows, dipping their bills into water in flight.

Breeding / Nesting:

This bird nests in an unlined hole in a tree cavity, laying 2-3 eggs.

Call / Vocalization:

The call of Broad-billed Roller is a snarling k-k-k-k-k-r-r-r-r-r sound.

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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