The Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis), was formerly locally called the Blue Jay, a misnomer. It is a member of the roller family of birds which breeds in tropical southern Asia from Iraq to Thailand. It is not migratory, but undertakes some seasonal movements.
The Indian Roller is a stocky bird, the size of a Jackdaw at 30-34cm. It has a warm brown back, lilac breast and face, and blue crown, wings, tail and belly. Sexes are similar, but the juvenile is a drabber version of the adult. The Southeast Asian race C. b. affinis has a green back and purple underparts.
Indian Roller is striking in its strong direct flight, with the brilliant blues of the wings contrasting with the brown back.
This is a common bird of warm open country with some trees. These rollers often perch prominently on trees, posts or overhead wires, like giant shrikes, whilst watching for the large insects, lizards and frogs that they eat. They will follow tractors for disturbed invertebrates, and dash into the smoke of a forest fire on a similar mission. They are fearless and will dive and roll at humans and other intruders.
The display of this bird is a lapwing-like display, with the twists and turns that give this species its English name. It nests in a lined hole in a tree or building, and lays about 3-5 eggs.
The call of Indian Roller is a harsh crow-like chack sound. Also makes a variety of other sounds including a metallic boink calls. Especially vociferous during the breeding season.
Indian roller has been given the status of state bird for Indian states of Karnataka, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.
In agricultural habitats in southern India, they have been found at densities of about 50 birds per sq. km. They perch mainly on 3"?10 metre perches and feed mostly on ground insects. Nearly 50% of their prey was beetles and 25% made up by Grasshoppers and crickets.