Rufous-bellied Heron | Ardeola rufiventris

Robert's Birding Information: Rufousbellied Heron

The Rufous-bellied 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 Rufous-bellied Heron (Latin name Ardeola rufiventris) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Ardeola rufiventris can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 75 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 595. You will find a picture of the Rufous-bellied 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. The Latin name for this bird is Butorides rufiventris in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Rufous-bellied Heron is known in Afrikaans as Rooipensreier.

The Rufous-bellied Heron has a height of 39 cms and weighs around 300 gms. The head is coloured grey while the bill is coloured yellow. The Ardeola rufiventris has a grey coloured throat, yellow legs and a grey coloured back. The eyes are yellow.

The male Ardeola rufiventris 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 grey.

Eyes are yellow.

Bill is yellow.

Legs are yellow.

Throat is grey.

Back is grey.

Rufousbellied 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.

Rufous Bellied Heron Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Rufous-bellied 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 5 eggs and they are coloured green.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

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 Rufous-bellied 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.

You can see the Rufous-bellied Heron bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Rufous-bellied Heron is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

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