Birda Logo
Species Guide
A photo of a Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus)
Lilac-breasted Roller

Lilac-breasted Roller

Coracias caudatus

The lilac-breasted roller (Coracias caudatus) is a member of the roller family, Coraciidae, resplendent in a panoply of pastel hues. This African bird is a sight to behold, with its lilac throat and breast, olive crown to mantle, and cheeks of lilac-rufous. The species is further adorned with long, black tail streamers, which juveniles lack. Unofficially, it is considered the national bird of Kenya.

Identification Tips

In the field, the lilac-breasted roller is almost unmistakable. Adults boast a lilac throat that deepens into a darker lilac breast, with an olive crown and mantle. The cheeks and ear coverts are a lilac-rufous. Juveniles and immatures can be identified by their lack of tail streamers and a throat and breast of rufous-tawny with broad diffuse buffy-white streaks. The species is not sexually dimorphic, though males may be slightly larger.


The lilac-breasted roller favors open woodland and savanna, typically avoiding treeless expanses. They are often seen perched high, surveying the landscape for prey.


This species is widely distributed across Southern and Eastern Africa and is a vagrant to the southern Arabian Peninsula. It is most abundant in Kenya and can be found from sea level to elevations of 2,000 meters or more.


Lilac-breasted rollers are usually solitary or found in pairs. They are known for their aggressive defense of their nests against raptors and other birds. During the breeding season, males perform acrobatic flights, swooping and diving while emitting harsh cries.

Song & Calls

The call is a harsh, sawing "rak rak rak," typically delivered in flight. The bird often perches to vocalize.


The lilac-breasted roller is likely monogamous, nesting solitarily. Both sexes incubate the clutch of 2–4 eggs. The nest is located in a natural hole in a tree or termite mound, and the young are altricial, becoming fully feathered after 19 days.

Diet and Feeding

Their diet consists of arthropods and small vertebrates, including insects, spiders, scorpions, and small birds. They hunt from perches, swooping down to catch prey on the ground or in the air.

Conservation status

The IUCN lists the lilac-breasted roller as Least Concern, with a stable population size and a large range.

Lilac-breasted Roller Sounds

Recorded by: © 
App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Lilac-breasted Roller Fun Facts

Did you know?
The Lilac-breasted Roller is the national bird of Kenya
Did you know?
The Lilac-breasted Roller, like all Roller species, are unique in having syndactyl feet; this is where the second and third digits is fused together.

Lilac-breasted Rollers on Birda


More Rollers

A photo of a Abyssinian Roller (Coracias abyssinicus)

Abyssinian Roller

Coracias abyssinicus
Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Paul F
Very good database
Highly recommend. It great that this app shows you male Vs female variations when posting. Very good database I'm really impressed.
Hip An
Really enjoying Birda where I live i have a lot of Red kites really hard to photograph but I can video are you planning some place on the app where us Birda can post vids🦉🦅
The best bird logging app
Birda is honestly the best bird logging app I have seen. I love all the features it has from being able to do a session and log all the birds you see in one sitting, to being able to connect with other birders from all over the globe!
Safira V
Birding and wellbeing app
Birda is an excellent platform to share your love of Birding and is a great tool of encouragement for a Birding Beginner like me. Birda has a very kind and supportive community of Birding enthusiasts. For me BIRDA is not only a BIRDING but also a WELLBEING App.
Birda fan
I really enjoy using Birda, all sightings are recorded and photos can be added. There are monthly challenges which help to get you out to record your sightings. The Birda community are great and are happy to help with unidentified bird sightings. Suitable for all ages and experience!
Great bird recording
For a while I’ve been trying to find an app to easily record bird lists and day out and struggled to find one that I like. Birda is great for this, straightforward and a great community!
Simply fantastic
I love this app, it puts so much fun into recording the birds I’ve seen and heard while I’m out and about. The interface is user-friendly and suitable for all ages. It’s great to collect badges and to review my “lists”.
Great app for beginner twitchers
I’ve had a passion of photographing birds for a long time now but have only just gotten into proper birdwatching, and this app is brilliant for those just getting started. There is a great sense of community among users and the app is very easy to use and professional. Awesome app altogether
Makes you want to spot birds more
I think this app is fun. It makes you want to spot birds more so I guess in a way it encourages you to get out and about instead of sitting in front of the TV.
Dan R
Great app for bird fanatics
Great app for bird fanatics - very user friendly and a perfect place to share sightings.
As featured in
AboutPressAmbassadorsAffiliatesInfluencersCareersPrivacyTerms & Conditions
An app for birdwatchers
Giving back
Connect with us
Copyright © 2024 Chirp Birding. All rights reserved.