Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Coraciiformes Coraciidae

Scientific Name: Coracias garrulus
Species Authority: Linnaeus, 1758
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English European Roller, Roller
French Rollier d'Europe
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Taxonomic Notes: The Roller Coracias garrulus is a polytypic species with two subspecies: the nominate C. g. garrulus breeds from Morocco, south-west and south-central Europe and Asia Minor east through north-west Iran to south-west Siberia (Russia); C. g. semenowi, breeds in Iraq and Iran (except northwest where the nominate race occurs) east to Kashmir and north to Turkmenistan, south Kazakhstan and northwest China (west Sinkiang) (Fry & Fry 1999).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Tron, F., Tiwari, J., Kalamees, A., Mischenko, A., Petkov, N., Raudonikis, L. & Racinskis, E.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Harding, M., Bird, J.
This species has apparently undergone moderately rapid declines across its global range and it is consequently considered Near Threatened. Declines have been most pronounced in northern populations, and if similar declines are observed elsewhere in the species's range it may warrant uplisting to Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2005 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Least Concern (LC)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Coracias garrulus occurs as two subspecies: the nominate breeds from Morocco, south-west and south-central Europe and Asia Minor east through north-west Iran to south-west Siberia (Russia); and semenowi, which breeds in Iraq and Iran (except north-west) east to Kashmir and north to Turkmenistan, south Kazakhstan and north-west China (west Sinkiang). The species overwinters in two distinct regions of Africa, from Senegal east to Cameroon and from Ethiopia west to Congo and south to South Africa (del Hoyo et al. 2001). It has a large global population, including an estimated 100,000-220,000 individuals in Europe (50-74% of the global breeding range) (BirdLife International 2004). However, following a moderate decline during 1970-1990 (Tucker and Heath 1994), the species has continued to decline by up to 25% across Europe during 1990-2000 (including in key populations in Turkey and European Russia) (BirdLife International 2004). Overall European declines exceeded 30% in three generations (15 years). Populations in northern Europe have undergone severe declines (Estonia: 50-100 pairs in 1998 to no known breeding pairs in 2004 [A. Kalamees in litt. 2005], Latvia: several thousand to under 30 pairs in 2004 [E. Raèinskis in litt. 2005], Lithuania: 1,000-2,000 pairs in 1970s to 20 pairs in 2004 [L. Raudonikis in litt. 2005]), and in Russia it has now disappeared from the northern part of its range (A. Mischenko in litt. 2005). However, there is no evidence of any declines in Central Asia. Should these populations be shown to be declining, the species may warrant uplisting further to Vulnerable.

Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola (Angola); Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Belarus; Benin; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; China; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; France; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Guinea-Bissau; Hungary; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Italy; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lebanon; Lesotho; Libya; Lithuania; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malawi; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Moldova; Montenegro; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Spain; Sudan; Swaziland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; Uzbekistan; Western Sahara; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Regionally extinct:
Belgium; Cape Verde; Comoros; Denmark; Faroe Islands; Finland; Iceland; Ireland; Liechtenstein; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Norway; Sao Tomé and Principe; Seychelles; Switzerland; United Kingdom
Present - origin uncertain:
San Marino
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 11400000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2400
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 53000-110000 breeding pairs, equating to 159000-330000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004). Europe forms 50-74% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population si

Trend Justification:  Northern European populations of the species have shown the most dramatic declines in recent years, and in Russia it has now disappeared from the northern part of its range. Some southern European populations have also declined: in the past century, the species has gone extinct in Germany, Denmark, Sweden (Snow & Perrins, 1998) and Finland (Avilés et al. 1999), possibly due to habitat loss as a result of agricultural intensification (Snow & Perrins 1998). Populations in the Middle East and Central Asia have not apparently exhibited declines, and hence global declines are suspected to fall within the band 20-30% over the past ten years.
For further information about this species, see 22682860_coracias_garrulus.pdf.
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Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The European Roller breeds throughout temperate, steppe and Mediterranean zones characterized by reliable warm summer weather. It prefers lowland open countryside with patches of oak Quercus forest, mature pine Pinus woodland with heathery clearings, orchards, mixed farmland, river valleys, and plains with scattered thorny or leafy trees. It winters primarily in dry wooded savanna and bushy plains (del Hoyo et al. 2001). In Europe, the species mainly breeds in abandoned Green Woodpecker Picus viridis cavities in white poplar Populus alba, especially in riparian forests, less often in Salix spp., or infrequently in natural cavities of planes Platanus orientalis, walls or sand-banks (Tron et al. 2006, Poole et al. in prep). They mostly forage in agricultural habitats, especially meadows (May and August) and in cereals in June-July. Fallow land is always favoured. Vineyards can be attractive if the soil keeps some vegetation cover (Tron et al. 2006, Poole et al. in prep). Hedgerows (as well as fences and powerlines) are essential perches while looking for prey (Tron et al. 2006, Poole et al. in prep).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 5.6
Movement patterns: Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threats include persecution on migration in some Mediterranean countries and hundreds, perhaps thousands, are shot for food in Oman every spring (del Hoyo et al. 2001), and Gujarat, India. The loss of suitable breeding habitat due to changing agricultural practices, conversion to monoculture, loss of nest sites, and use of pesticides (reducing food availability) are considered to be the main threats to the species in Europe (Kovacs et al. 2008; E. Raèinskis in litt. 2005). It is sensitive to loss of hedgerows and riparian forest in Europe which provide essential habitats for perching and nesting.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex I. Bern Convention Appendix II. Bonn Convention Appendix II. International Species Action Plan in place (Kovacs et al. 2008). A number of national monitoring schemes within its range and has been the focus of targeted study. Species action plans have been developed in Hungary, Latvia, and Andalusia (Spain); similar documents are being drafted in Slovakia and Catalonia (Spain). Working groups present in Austria, Belarus, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia and Slovakia.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue monitoring population trends. Determine Turkish, Middle Eastern and Central Asian trends and review its conservation status based on the findings. Tackle specific threats such as hunting. Address threats in Europe relating to the Common Agricultural Policy and integrate appropriate measures into agri-environment schemes.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Coracias garrulus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22682860A37868316. . Downloaded on 10 October 2015.
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