About 30 cm tall, the colourful bird is graced with the bright turquoise mantle, which is combined with brown feathers on the back. The long tail, which can reach up to 12 cm, is deep violet, matching the same-coloured shoulder patch and bottom feathers of the wings. They have a black bill and white patch around the eyes. Juveniles are less vivid in colour and without tail streamers.
They can be found all over the Gambia in wooded grasslands, farmlands and vast gardens. Abyssinian rollers are mainly resident but partially migratory as they move south in the dry season and north in the wet season.
Their voice, as well as flight characteristics, are harsh and conspicuous.
They perch from the open vantage points to catch larger insects or small vertebrates.