The size of the European Roller (Coracias garrulous) is 30–32 cm in length, with a wingspan of 65 – 73 cm. The bird is the widespread roller in the European region and is unlikely to be confused in most situations.
The pale turquoise-blue head and underparts and rufous-cinnamon saddle are distinctive when perched. In-flight, big head and bill, large, rather broad, and blunt-ended wings, and fairly long tail, together with flight action, create a corvid-like impression.
The upper wing shows a striking pale turquoise-blue color central panel contrasting with broad blackish trailing edge and violet-blue lesser coverts. Underwing pattern similar, but whole underwing coverts pale turquoise-blue and blackish trailing edge tinged with violet-blue.
European Roller has distinctive display flight, climbing rapidly upwards to a considerable height before stooping even more rapidly back to earth with half-opened wings, all the while rolling from side to side. This magnificent roller habitually perches conspicuously on poles, wires, and other prominent places, regularly moving vantage points.
Adult winter is slightly duller. The juvenile resembles adult winter but is much duller overall, with a pale brownish tinge to head and breast, paler and greyer saddle, more extensive whitish area on forehead and face, and no black, slightly elongated, tips to outer tail feathers.
The typical call of European Roller is harsh, crow-like ‘rak-rak’ or ‘rakrak- rak’ (sometimes just a single ‘rak’). When displaying, a series of similar calls builds into a rapid wooden rattling (recalling a football fan’s rattle): ‘rak-rak-rakrak- rarrarrarrarrarrarrarrarrarrarrarrarr’.
As per habitats, European Roller is generally uncommon but locally fairly common, but declining in the northwest range. In addition to the mapped range, formerly bred Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, and has bred Finland, and Switzerland.)
It is normally found in the dry or fairly dry, flat or rolling country and wide valleys, inhabiting open woodland (particularly oak or pine), woodland edges and clearings, groves, orchards, and cultivation with scattered trees; locally in semi-desert terrain with banks or ravines.