Bird of the Day – Lilac-breasted Roller

One of the most striking color combinations in the bush: Lilac-breasted Roller. This picture was taken at Kings Camp, Timbavati Game Reserve, South Africa.

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The Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus) is widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, preferring open woodland and savanna. Usually found alone or in pairs, it perches conspicuously at the tops of trees, poles or other high vantage points from where it can spot insects, lizards, scorpions, snails, small birds and rodents moving about at ground level. Nesting takes place in a natural hole in a tree where a clutch of 2–4 eggs is laid, and incubated by both parents, who are extremely aggressive in defence of their nest, taking on raptors and other birds. During the breeding season the male will rise to great heights, descending in swoops and dives, while uttering harsh, discordant cries.