The European roller is the only species in the roller family that breeds in Europe. It is a long-distance migrant, wintering in southern Africa in two distinct regions, from Senegal east to Cameroon and from Ethiopia west to Congo and south to South Africa.The Coracias garrulus garrulus that we see in kenya breeds in northwest Africa, parts of southern Europe, through Asia Minor, and into southwest Siberia. It winters in kenya from late october to april.
The European roller is believed to have undergone a decline by 25% in the period 1990-2000. It is no longer breeding in many of the northern parts of its European range, such as in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, eastern Germany and northern Russia. Reasons for this decline and disappearance is thought to be due to lack of nesting sites due to deforestation, pesticides in farmlands, and the fact that they are common targets and often shot in and around the Mediterranean. In Oman alone, hundreds, or even thousands, individuals are shot each year for food.
It is a monogamous breeder and both partners will defend their territory from rivals. They make nests inside holes in trees, houses, cliffs, as well as in vertical riverbanks. Four to five eggs are laid in the period May-June and is incubated primarily by the female for 17-19 days. Chicks leave the nest after 25-30 days and are continued to be fed by the parents for about three weeks more.The heavy-bodied European Roller feeds on invertebrates, such as beetles, crickets, locusts, caterpillars, flies and spiders. They are also known to prey on small numbers of larger animals such as frogs, lizards, snakes and weak, small birds. It spends long periods sitting on elevated spots, such as a bare branch or a power line, watching the ground attentively for potential prey.