Indian Roller

Conservation status

Least Concern

Population Trend


Alternate Names

Indian Blue Jay

Native Habitat

Grassland, Scrubland


Insects, Arachnids, Small Reptiles, Small Snakes, Amphibians


Indian Roller

Coracias benghalensis

The Indian Roller is also known as the Blue Jay in former times. It is a member of the roller family of birds. They are found in southern Asia from Iraq to Thailand and are best known for the aerobatic displays of the male during the breeding season. They are very commonly seen perched along roadside trees and wires and are commonly seen in open grassland and scrub forest habitats. It is not migratory, but undertakes some seasonal movements.

The Indian Roller is a stocky bird about 30 cm long and can only be confused within its range with the migratory European Roller. The crown and vent are blue. The primaries are deep purplish blue with a band of pale blue. The tail is sky blue with a terminal band of blue and the central feathers are dull green. The neck and throat are purplish lilac with white shaft streaks. The bare patch around the eye is ochre in color. The three forward toes are united at the base. Rollers have a long and compressed bill with a curved upper edge and a hooked tip. The nostril is long and exposed and there are long rictal bristles at base of the bill.

Regional Names
  • Bengali:
  • Gujarati:
    ચાષ, નીલકંઠ
  • Hindi:
    नीलकण्ठ, सबझक
  • Kannada:
  • Malayalam:
  • Marathi:
    चाष, नीलपंख, तास, टटास
  • Nepali:
  • Oriya:
  • Punjabi:
    ਨੀਲ ਕੰਠ
  • Sanskrit:
  • Tamil:
  • Telugu:
  • Urdu:
    نیل کنٹھ
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Coracias benghalensis

Quick Facts
  • It is a state bird of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and Karnataka.
  • It can mimic the sound of hawks.
  • At times, these encourage ants to swarm over their feathers. The poisonous formic acid produced by the ants help dislodge parasites. This process is called as anting.
  • In 2018, it is declared as a City bird by Wardha, Maharashtra. Wardha is the second city after Sawantwadi in Maharashtra to hold polls to choose city bird.