|pair in The Gambia|
The blue-bellied roller (Coracias cyanogaster) is a member of the roller family of birds which breeds across Africa in a narrow belt from Senegal to northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is resident, apart from some local seasonal movements, in mature moist savannah dominated by Isoberlinia trees.
The blue-bellied roller is a large bird, nearly the size of a jackdaw at 28–30 cm. It has a dark green back, white head, neck and breast, with the rest of the plumage mainly blue. Adults have 6 cm tail streamers. Sexes are similar, but the juvenile is a drabber version of the adult.
The blue-bellied roller is striking in its strong direct flight, with the brilliant blues of the wings contrasting with the dark back and cream colored head, and the tail streamers trailing behind.
The call of blue-bellied roller is a harsh clicking ga-ga-ga sound.
Distribution and habitat
This is a common bird of warm open country with some trees. These rollers often perch prominently on trees, posts, or overhead wires, like giant shrikes, whilst watching for the grasshoppers and other large insects on which they feed.
Behaviour and ecology
The display of this bird is a lapwing-like display, with the twists and turns that give this species its English name. It nests in a hole in a tree - a tree cavity.
Widespread and common throughout its large range, the blue-bellied roller is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
This species can be kept in captivity and is sometimes seen in zoos, open air aviaries, and similar educational facilities.
- Kingfishers, Bee-eaters and Rollers by Fry, Fry and Harris, ISBN 0-7136-8028-8
Media related to Coracias cyanogaster at Wikimedia Commons