Purple Roller have a lenght of 35-40cm, and weigh 160g. The sexes look alike. It is a large, stocky and dull roller. From a distance or in poor light it appears, a plain dark brown with broad pale supercillium and white spot on the hindcrown. The upperparts are mainly dark olive-green, the rump is blue-purple.
Conspicuous white supercillium and small pale patch on the hindcrown. Closed wings look dark rufous; the tail is square, dark greenish centrally and the rest is purple-blue. The sides of the head and underparts are a pale purple-brown, heavily streaked white; the lower flanks, belly and undertailcoverts are unstreaked. In flight they are marginally brighter.Purple Roller's flight feathers are blue-black. Marginal upper wingcoverts are pale pink, median and lesser coverts are bright lilac to dark purple, the greater coverts vinaceous are brown, primary coverts and alula are purple. The underwing is pale pink. Rather long-winged. The bill is black, legs and feet are olive-brown in colour.
The purple roller is endemic to Africa. They are widespread in South Africa, but generally sparse in all well-wooded dry habitats.