246 (European) Roller
(Coracias garrulus)


29-32cm. A Jackdaw-sized, heavily built, green-tinged pale blue bird with brown back. Large head and strong black bill. In flight, shows contrast between blue wing-coverts and blackish remiges. Leading wing-edge and rump ultramarine-blue. Over longer stretches flies with rather slow but powerful, slightly clipped beats and on straight course, but at times makes minor turns and swerves. - Juvenile: Duller and more green-grey plumage; breast and median upperwing-coverts tinged brown.


Characteristic breeder of the Danube-Tisza Plain, its most preferred habitat is sandy pusztas interspersed with open polar woodland and wet meadows, where its strongest population lives. Has disappeared from most of Transdanubia and the foothills of the Northern Upland. As a result of a nest box program, it breeds in increasing numbers in the Jászság, Heves Plain, Borsodi Mezőség, Hortobágy, as well as at several sites east of the River Tisza. Migrant. It arrives in late April or early May and leaves Hungary in late August or early September.

246 (European) Roller pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008