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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 9 1-2 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 ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Coraciiformes, families Coraciidae and Leptostomatidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, 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 ?
Thrust needle roller and cage assemblies consist of a thrust cage and needle rollers.
Along with playing at the junior level, including the 1st Junior World Cup and Junior Olympic roller derby events, the sisters enjoyed playing for the Chicago Red Hots (a USA Roller Sports adult level team whose ruleset allows for elite level skaters ages 14 and older to participate).
Swetnam denied Roller's allegation that he put the company at risk from third-party payers for charges not supported by proper documentation.
Explaining the mechanism by which roller coasters may encourage the passing of kidney stones, Dr.
To stop a roller shedding fibres, wrap masking tape around the sleeve - when you peel off the tape, any loose fibres should come away with it.
There are many ways to introduce a foam roller into your daily routine, from post-workout to an as-needed massage.
In 1827 the Tower Ballroom was built and led the way for roller rinks in the UK.
Milk Rollers co-captains Ella Storey and Terri Sudron have been selected for the 20-strong squad for the Blood and Thunder Roller Derby World Cup, which will be held at the Dallas Convention Centre in Texas, USA, between December 4-7.
Observed frequencies of roller males and females were 68.32% and 45.82% respectively.
Menges Roller, a designer and manufacturer of precision industrial rollers for the plastics, paper and steel industries, was recognized for using CFD (computational fluid dynamics) to design better heat transfer rollers.
The smaller the roller, the more defined the wave, but I was most impressed by the extra volume throughout my hair.