Indian Roller

The Indian Roller, known as the “Neelkanth” in Hindi, is a creature of captivating beauty and boundless wonder. It’s regal bearing, coupled with its vivid plumage, sets it apart from the mundane birds of the Indian subcontinent.

This majestic bird is endowed with a resplendent coat of sapphire blue, with hints of purple and green that shimmer in the sunlight. Its head is adorned with a crown of deep blue feathers, reminiscent of a noble prince from a fairy tale.

Serial NumberCharacteristicsDescription
1Common nameIndian Roller
2Scientific nameCoracias benghalensis
3ColourBluish-purple with brown wings and tail, and a distinctive black and white patch on the throat and a black mask
4Average length26-27 cm
5Average height34-36 cm
6Type of birdWoodland and grassland bird
7Found in IndiaThroughout India, except for the higher Himalayas
8HabitatOpen grasslands, farmland, scrub, and lightly wooded areas
9StatusLeast Concern


The Indian Roller, also known as the Blue Jay, is a bird species found in the Indian subcontinent. 

The Indian Roller has a compact body, a large head, and a strong, hooked beak. It has a wingspan of around 18-20 inches and weighs between 150-170 grams. It has a long tail with pointed feathers and short, strong legs. The Indian Roller is predominantly blue in color, with shades ranging from deep ultramarine to pale baby blue. It has a black band around its neck and a bright blue patch on its breast. Its wings are brownish-grey, and the edges of its primary feathers are black. The tail feathers are bright blue, with thin white edges. The Indian Roller stands at around 10-12 inches tall. The Indian Roller measures around 25-27 cm in length, with the tail accounting for around half of its total length.

Habitat and Food

Indian Rollers are adaptable birds that can be found in a variety of habitats, from open grasslands to forests and even in urban areas. They are most commonly found in areas with scattered trees, as they rely on these trees for perching and nesting. Indian Rollers are also known to nest in the cavities of trees and in old buildings.

Indian Rollers are carnivorous birds that feed mainly on insects, such as grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles. They are also known to feed on small reptiles and rodents. Indian Rollers hunt from perches, swooping down to catch their prey in mid-air or on the ground.

Nesting and Nurturing

Indian Rollers usually breed from February to May. They build their nests in tree hollows or crevices, often in the vicinity of human settlements. Both male and female birds participate in nest-building, which involves collecting twigs and other plant materials to construct a cup-shaped nest. They may also line the nest with feathers, fur, or grass.

Indian Rollers typically lay a clutch of 3-5 eggs. The nest is made in tree hollows or crevices, often near human settlements. The eggs are white in color and measure about 30 mm x 23 mm in size. The eggs are incubated for about 17-19 days. Both parents take part in feeding and caring for the chicks. The chicks are born with a thin coat of down and are initially fed regurgitated food by their parents. As they grow older, they are fed a variety of insects and small vertebrates. The chicks fledge after about 25-30 days and become independent soon after.

As the chicks grow, they become more independent and begin to explore their surroundings. They will eventually leave the nest, but will continue to rely on their parents for food and protection for several more weeks. Once they are fully fledged, they will leave their parents and set out on their own.

IUCN Status

The species is currently listed as a species of Least Concern. This means that it is not currently facing a high risk of extinction, although its populations may still be declining in certain areas due to threats such as habitat loss, persecution, and pollution.

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