Blue-bellied Roller

This is one of my favourites, the Blue-bellied Roller is such a beautiful bird and easy to see not only because of its striking colours but also because of its size.

Seen at Footsteps regularly and on the walk to the beach this fella will definitely make an appearance. Where there is one you will probably see a few more as they like to hang around in groups.

They display many social habits, which include calling to each other, chasing one another, flying together, and defending their region together.

Adult rollers don’t have many predators because as their name suggests they are skilful in the air and can escape other birds easily.

Thanks once again go to Rob Garner who took these photos on his last visit to Footsteps Ecolodge in 2020.

Blue-bellied Roller at Footsteps
Beautiful close-up showing its colours

Where is the Blue-bellied Roller found?

As mentioned earlier, this large bird is a daily visitor at Footsteps. 

Blue-bellied rollers are native to western and central Africa, from Senegal to southern Sudan. They live in wooded areas often on the edge of open or recently burned areas.

In Gambia for example this bird is found everywhere and also generally fairly common in forest interiors.

What does it look like?

The Blue-bellied roller is a large bird at 28–30 cm and weighs around 140 grams. It has a dark green back, white head, neck and breast, with the rest of the plumage mainly blue. Source Wikipedia.

What does it feed on?

Being a carnivore it feeds on insects and other invertebrates. It will also eat small snakes, small reptiles and sometimes palm-oil fruit.

Want to know an interesting Factoid?

Rollers are so named because of spectacular aerobatic displays while in courtship!

How does it sound?

Its call is a harsh clicking Ga-Ga-Gah sound.

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