Squacco Heron | Ardeola ralloides

Roberts Birding Information: The Common Squacco Heron

The Squacco Heron is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Ardeidae bird family group which includes birds such as Egrets, Herons, Bitterns.

The description for the Squacco Heron (Latin name Ardeola ralloides) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Ardeola ralloides can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 72 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 594. You will find a picture of the Squacco Heron on page 577.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Squacco Heron between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Squacco Heron is known in Afrikaans as Ralreier.

The Squacco Heron has a height of 43 cms and weighs around 300 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured greenish yellow. The Ardeola ralloides has a white coloured throat, red legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are yellow.

The male Ardeola ralloides has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is brown.

Eyes are yellow.

Bill is greenish yellow.

Legs are red.

Throat is white.

Back is brown.

Common Squacco Heron Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Common Squacco Heron Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Squacco Heron is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 4 eggs and they are coloured blue.

The bird builds its nest above water as a means of protecting itself from predators and to be close to its main food source which includes fish, shrimp and frogs.

The Squacco Heron is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Squacco Heron is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.