C and E Ethiopia, Somalia (lorti)
Angola to S Kenya, south to NE half Namibia and across N South Africa (caudatus)
Habitat and Ecology
Dry open woodland
Movements and dispersal
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Coracias caudatus
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Coracias caudatus
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
The lilac-breasted roller (Coracias caudatus) is a member of the roller family of birds. It is widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula, preferring open woodland and savanna; it is largely absent from treeless places. 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.
The sexes are alike in coloration. Juveniles do not have the long tail feathers that adults do.
This species is the national bird of Botswana and Kenya.
Individual from Maasai Mara, Kenya