Lilac-Breasted Roller

    Meet the Lilac-Breasted Roller

    Lilac-Breasted Roller

    The lilac-breasted roller, with an olive coloured crown and mantle, is indeed one of the perching pretties of Africa. Unofficially, it carries the status as the national bird of Kenya. The bird is known for its aerial acrobatics, making full use of a wingspan of between 50cm and 58cm. The rest of the body is small and lithe with an average weight of just over 100 grams and a length of around 36cm, including the tail.

    Using the height of vantage points such as trees, wires, and poles, the lilac-breasted roller swoops down on unsuspecting prey below. These include insects, snails, scorpions, lizards, small birds, and rodents.

    Using the height of vantage points such as trees, wires, and poles, the lilac-breasted roller swoops down on unsuspecting prey below. These include insects, snails, scorpions, lizards, small birds, and rodents.

    Both females and males incubate up to four eggs that are laid in natural holes in trees and sometimes even made in termite mounds. The parents fiercely protect the nest from intruders, with males screeching and diving from great heights onto other birds and snakes. The lilac-breasted roller is classified as ‘Least Concern’.

    More birdlife in africa

    The Southern ground-hornbill is the largest hornbill species in the world and is found nowhere else in the world other than in Africa. It calls the woodlands and Savannahs of the continent home. 

    Appearing on the postage stamps of several African countries, the yellow-billed stork occurs all across the continent south of the Sahara, as well as in Madagascar. Their favoured habitat is in and around water. 

    The white-backed vulture is part of the Old World vultures that include hawks, kites, eagles, and buzzards. Soaring over the Savannahs and woodlands of Africa, its population is increasingly under threat.

    The unmistakable sound of the African fish eagle is part and parcel of the call to visit the shores of the continent. No wonder it features as the national bird for various African countries.

    Popular destinations Across Africa

    The Okavango Delta is the best place to spot special species such as the wattled crane, lesser jacana, slaty egret, herons, larks and babblers.

    With the Kafue, Luangwa and Zambezi Rivers providing sustenance, beautiful birds like the African pitta and shoebill stork will be a thrill to the searching eyes of birders.

    For those keen on records, Kenya provides the opportunity to spot more than 300 species in any given day—the record is 342 in 24 hours.

    The pristine coastline is home to coastal migrant waders, while further afield the red and blue double collared sunbirds, mangrove kingfisher, tiny greenbul, and olive-headed weaver can be observed.

    The Kruger National Park is indeed a birders paradise with more than 500 species, including various raptors and vultures as well as rare migrants such as Dickinson’s kestrel, Southern hyliota and Bohm’s spinetail. 

    Interesting facts about the roller