Black Heron | Egretta ardesiaca
The Black 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 Black Heron (Latin name Egretta ardesiaca) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Egretta ardesiaca can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 69 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 582. You will find a picture of the Black 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.
This bird is known as Black Egret in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Black Heron between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition
The Black Heron is known in Afrikaans as Swartreier.
The Black Heron has a height of 66 cms and weighs around 310 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured black. The Egretta ardesiaca has a black coloured throat, black legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are yellow.
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 black
Eyes are yellow
Bill is black
Legs are black
Throat is black
Back is black
This bird has long legs ? ie legs the length of which are out of proportion to the bird's body size. This can be a useful identification guide (eg with the Lapwings).
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 .
Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...
The Black 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 3 to 5 eggs and they are coloured white.
The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.
The Black 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 Black 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 ...
This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks
The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."
copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105
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