Black Heron

© Karl Svendsen

Name

Black heron (Egretta ardesiaca)

Black Heron Appearance

The black heron is a medium-sized heron, at 55 cm in length. It is a very dark grey to black, with black plumage, black legs, black bill and yellow feet.

Black Heron Diet

©Karl Svendsen
Black Heron umbrella feeding.
The black heron feeds mostly on fish, also on insects and crustaceans.

Black Heron Breeding

The black heron is monogamous and breeds in colonies known as heronries. These are mixed communal nesting sites, shared with other herons, egrets and cormorants. The nest is built by both sexes, out of sticks and normally at the start of the rainy season. Two to four eggs are laid. The chicks are green and yellow when they hatch and start changing to black at around 2 weeks old.

Black Heron Behaviour

The black heron is easily recognised from it’s hunting methods, called canopy feeding. It forms an umbrella with its wings, around its head, making a shady spot that attracts fish.

The black heron roosts communally at night. They feed either singularly or in groups.

Black Heron Distribution and Habitat

The black heron is found in the northeast area of South Africa. They are found around swamps and at the edges of wetlands.