The national bird of Kenya is the brightly coloured Lilac-Breasted Roller. This 36cm long bird has a light green head, lilac breast, brown back, yellow legs, blue coverts, and violet wings! The violet wings are very large, making the bird a strong flyer. Their Roller name refers to the aerial acrobatics they perform during fights over territory or during courtship.
It lives in the open woodlands and savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa, where it can be found alone or in pairs, perching at the top of trees, keeping an eye out for the insects, lizards, scorpions, snails, small birds and rodents which it feeds on.
The Roller lays between 2 and 4 eggs each mating season, and both parents are extremely protective (and can get aggressive) of the nest.
NB – We were led to believe that the Lilac-breasted Roller was also the national bird of the Republic of Botswana so we put this on our posters. But it has been brought to our attention the national bird of Botswana is actually the Kgori, or Kori Bustard. This Bustard is the largest flying bird in Africa and the heaviest living animal capable of flight! The males certainly use the power of flight during breeding season – they attempt to breed with as many females as possible and then take no part in the rearing of the young!
The more birds the merrier we say! Here’s a link to info about the Kori Bustard – KORI BUSTARD FACTSHEET
Thanks to the helpful folk at Birdlife Botswana for setting us straight.