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Coracias garrulus

warning Vulnerable
VU (C1)

Contributed: Yoav Perlman, Asaf Mayrose, Lior Kislev, Zev Labinger, Noam Weiss, Avner Rinot, Ezra Hadad, Ido Zurim, Tuvia Kahn, Yuvak Dax, Yaron Bazer, Amir Balaban, Manachem Adar, Ohad Hatzofe, Rei Segali

The European Roller is classified as Vulnerable (VU) because of the rapid decline in its population size, which has exceeded 10% over three generations (16.8 years). In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Near Threatened (NT). The change in its status reflects a deterioration in the population status, as well as improvement in the quality of the data and differences in assessment methods.
VU Current Regional Assessment | NT Previous Regional Assessment | LC World Assessment

Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Long Range
Zoography Zones Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian
Landscape Formations Mountainous, Plains & Valleys, Wide Wadis, Rural Area, Cliffs
Vegetation Formations Mediterranean Maquis, Trees, Mediterranean Garrigue, Steppe
Vegetation Densities Low, Medium
Nest Locations Cliffs, Mountainside
Diet Types Invertebrate
Foraging Grounds Ground
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Plantations, Pesticide Poisoning, Habitat Fragmentation

The size and form of the European Roller resemble a “small corvid”, such as a Jackdaw, and its raucous calls are similar to a raven. Its plumage is sky-blue, except for its back that is chestnut brown. In flight, it displays a prominent wing pattern, with turquoise blue coverts, contrasting with dark blue-black primary feathers. Flight is nimble, with relatively slow, strong rhythmic wingbeats.

A summer breeder in the Golan Heights, the Northern Valleys, the Jordan Valley, the Judean Lowlands and the Northern Negev, and a relatively common migrant throughout Israel. Its main nesting concentrations at present are in the southern Golan Heights, the Jordan Valley and the northwestern Negev. Until the 1960s, it was very common throughout Israel’s Mediterranean region, but then its population declined sharply due to pesticide poisoning (Shirihai 1996, Paz 2013). In the 1980s, the population was estimated at 500-1,000 pairs, but since then the species has receded from most of the Galilee, Carmel, Judea and Samaria and the Coastal Plain, and its current population estimate is 500 pairs at the most.

The European Roller breeds in Southern, Central and Eastern Europe, east to Central Asia (Kazakhstan and Western China). All its populations winter in Africa south of the Sahara. In Europe, there have been severe declines in population sizes but on a global scale, the species is still classified as Least Concern (LC).

No specific conservation measures have been taken for this species to date.

  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • Mendelssohn, H. 1975. Report on the Status of Some Bird Species in Israel in 1974. I.C.B.P. 12:265-270.
  • Shirihai, H., 1996. The Birds of Israel. Academic Press, London.
  • Symes, A. 2013. Species generation lengths. Unpublished, BirdLife International.
  • Species page at Birdlife International
Contributed: Yoav Perlman, Asaf Mayrose, Lior Kislev, Zev Labinger, Noam Weiss, Avner Rinot, Ezra Hadad, Ido Zurim, Tuvia Kahn, Yuvak Dax, Yaron Bazer, Amir Balaban, Manachem Adar, Ohad Hatzofe, Rei Segali

Current Occupancy Map

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel in the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and nesting density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values as calculated from observation records and expert opinions.

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Breeding density values are based mainly on the book Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Occupancy difference 1990-2020

A map that expresses differences in the breeding distribution between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative value - species previously present but is currently absent, positive value - species has not been recorded previously and is currently present, zero - no change in occupancy.

Relative abundance difference 1990-2020

A map that reflects the changes in the relative abundance of the species between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative values - decline in abundance, positive values - increase in abundance, zero - no change in abundance.

Red number

IUCN category

() districts
% of protected sites

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