Afrikaans name: Groottroupant
Purple Roller behaviourThis large roller is not the most attractive of the rollers. Along with a rather rough sounding call it doesn’t have too much going for it. You are likely to see one sitting for lengthy periods of time on an exposed perch while it waits for prey to cross the open area beneath it. They may be encountered all year round in South Africa although there are some seasonal movements.
Purple Roller appearanceThey are the largest of the rollers and can reach a length of 40 cm. Male and female have similar plumages. They have a powerful black bill, yellowish-white eye-stripe and white flecks on their dull purple breasts.
Purple Roller dietThese Rollers perch on an exposed branch and survey the ground for prey. They mostly eat insects, but they will also eat mice, small rodents, chicks and reptiles. Crickets, grasshoppers and locusts are the most taken prey.
Purple Roller breedingPurple Rollers perform acrobatic aerial displays as part of their courtship routine. They then nest in a cavity in a tree, or sometimes in a hole in a man-made structure. The nest is normally at least 5 metres from the ground. Between 2 and 4 eggs are laid.
Purple Roller distribution and habitatThe Purple Roller is found in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa it is found in the north and north-east. Its preferred habitats are thornveld, savanna and drier woodland. It is a common species in Kruger National Park.
References and further readingA First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 102
Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 39
Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 128
Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 390
Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 386
Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 264