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Black Heron or Black Egret

Afrikaans name: Swartreier

Black Egret

Photo © Riaan van den Berg -

Egretta ardesiaca

The Black Heron, also known as the Black Egret, is well-known for its unusual method of hunting. It forms an umbrella, or canopy, with its wings to make a patch of shade which attracts fish. This hunting method may also be to prevent reflections or to hide the movements of the bird when it is about to strike.

They are not as common as the various species of herons with white plumage such as the Cattle Egret. The Black Heron is normally seen near water, particularly areas of shallow water.

The main food of this species is fish but it also eats insects and crustaceans.

Black Herons lay 2 to 4 dark blue eggs in a nest above water.

The distribution of the heron runs from northern South Africa through to the Sahara.



List of South African Birds

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