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roller, common name for brightly colored Old World birds noted for performing somersaults in flight. They include the rollers proper (subfamily Coraciinae) and ground rollers (subfamily Brachypteraciinae; sometimes considered a separate family, Brachypteraciidae) of the family Coraciidae, as well as the monotypic cuckoo roller (Leptostomus discolor) of another family, Leptostomatidae.

The rollers comprise approximately a dozen species of solitary, jaylike birds, widespread throughout the tropical and temperate areas of the Old World. They are stout-bodied and large-headed birds, ranging from 91-2 to 13 in. (24–33 cm) long, with long, straight beaks that end in hooked tips. Their colors run to greens, blues, and reddish or yellowish browns, with little distinction between sexes. Rollers are strong flyers and feed while on the wing, usually on insects and small birds but occasionally on fruit. They lay their three to six white eggs in tree or rock holes, to which they add bits of grass, straw, or feathers. The slightly smaller tropical broad-billed rollers (genus Eurystomas) do not actually tumble or roll in flight.

The five species of ground rollers are confined to the island of Madagascar. They differ from the true rollers in being ground feeders and thus show the expected adaptations of this way of life: longer and stouter legs; shorter, more rounded wings; and less bright but more cryptic coloration. Four species inhabit the forest floor, and one, the 18-in.-long (46-cm) Uratelornis chimaera, dwells in arid scrub. Ground rollers feed on insects and small animals and build their hole nests in the ground.

The cuckoo roller is also found on Madagascar, as well as on the nearby islands of Comoros and Mayotte. It is about 17 in. (43 cm) in length and somewhat resembles the cuckoo in its coloration and its crested head. It differs from all other rollers in the possession of an outer toe capable of being turned backwards and a bill overhung with large tufts of feathers. A creature of forest and brushland, it feeds on large insects and lizards and lays its eggs in a tree-hole nest.

Rollers are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Coraciiformes, families Coraciidae and Leptostomatidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Coracias garrulus), a bird of the order Coraciiformes measuring about 34 cm long and weighing about 190 g. The stiff plumage is greenish azure; the top of the wings and the back are brown. The roller occurs in Europe, Southwest Asia, and northwestern Africa. In the USSR it is present as far east as the Altai and as far north as Estonia and the Tatar ASSR. The bird winters in the tropical and southern regions of Africa. It nests in hollows and, in the south, in holes dug out of cliffs; less commonly it nests in buildings. A clutch contains four to six white eggs, which are incubated for 18 or 19 days. The roller feeds on large insects, lizards, frogs, and, sometimes, rodents. In the autumn its diet includes grapes and berries.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(design engineering)
A cylindrical device for transmitting motion and force by rotation.
A long, massive wave which usually retains its form without breaking until it reaches the beach or a shoal.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. See paint roller.
2. A self-propelled or towed device to compact soil.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a cylinder having an absorbent surface and a handle, used for spreading paint
2. a heavy cast-iron cylinder or pair of cylinders on an axle to which a handle is attached; used for flattening lawns
3. a long heavy wave of the sea, advancing towards the shore
4. a hardened cylinder of precision-ground steel that forms one of the rolling components of a roller bearing or of a linked driving chain
5. a cylinder fitted on pivots, used to enable heavy objects to be easily moved; castor
6. Printing a cylinder, usually of hard rubber, used to ink a forme or plate before impression
7. Med a bandage consisting of a long strip of muslin or cheesecloth rolled tightly into a cylindrical form before application
8. a band fastened around a horse's belly to keep a blanket in position
9. any of various Old World birds of the family Coraciidae, such as Coracias garrulus (European roller), that have a blue, green, and brown plumage, a slightly hooked bill, and an erratic flight: order Coraciiformes (kingfishers, etc.)
10. a variety of tumbler pigeon that performs characteristic backward somersaults in flight
11. a breed of canary that has a soft trilling song in which the notes are run together
12. short for steamroller
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
distributor of Rammax trench compaction rollers. The bankruptcy judge held that Sea-Roy and Southern were heavily burdened by outstanding debts of more than $6 million owed to Rammax and Multiquip as a result of a lawsuit which culminated in a 1997 jury verdict finding that the companies had failed to repay debts owed to the German company Rammax Maschinenbau and had intentionally infringed the Rammax trademark used by Multiquip.
Mecalac Construction Equipment UK Ltd IR4328_Mecalac_Product_Foamex_Boards_910mm(H)x760mm(w)_AW.indd 1 ONE of the world's leading compact equipment solutions providers, Mecalac Construction Equipment UK Ltd manufacture in Coventry three of the five Mecalac group product lines; backhoe loaders, compaction rollers and site dumpers.
Through the acquisition, Terex picks up the ASV compact track loader line (CTL) that was absent from its compact equipment portfolio, which consists of backhoe loaders, mini excavators, compact wheel loaders, site dumpers, compaction rollers, light towers, generators and telehandlers.
"This will include adding to our general plant hire facilities including excavators, dumpers and compaction rollers as well as additional access hire equipment.
This is part of the machine's unibody design that is a staple on the Rammax brand compaction rollers, said Multiquip.
TEREX Construction's Coventry facility is a company within the Terex construction division and its products include site dumpers and compaction rollers.
The agreement provides customers complete access to the Rammax mid-heavy line of compaction rollers. As part of the agreement, Ammann will use the Rammax brand name and logo to promote the Ammann "Heavy" equipment lines, including single-drum, heavy tandem vibrating and static rollers.
"Our site dumpers and compaction rollers are designed and built to be the best on the market, and it is great to see these machines helping to redevelop our home city of Coventry."
With a patent on the method of supplying hydraulic fluid to the wheel motors through bores in the solid steel vertical frame member between the compaction rollers, Rammax held a monopoly position until the patent expired in 1987.