Black Heron

Scientific Name:
Egretta ardesiaca
Sub-Saharan Africa
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About the Black Heron

The Black Heron (Egretta ardesiaca) is a striking bird species found in sub-Saharan Africa, known for its unique hunting behavior and distinctive appearance.


Black Herons are typically found in a variety of wetland habitats, including marshes, swamps, riverbanks, lakeshores, and estuaries. They prefer areas with shallow water and abundant vegetation, where they can forage for fish and aquatic invertebrates. These herons are often seen in both freshwater and saltwater habitats, as long as suitable feeding grounds are available.


Black Herons are medium-sized herons, measuring approximately 55 to 60 centimeters (22 to 24 inches) in length. They have a sleek, all-black plumage with a glossy appearance, long legs, a long neck, and a slender, pointed bill. During the breeding season, they develop ornamental plumes on the back of their heads and necks, which they display to attract mates. Best Viewing The best places to view Black Herons are wetland areas and freshwater habitats within their range. Look for them standing motionless along the water's edge, often with their wings spread out and held over their bodies to create shade. This behavior, known as "canopy feeding," is unique to Black Herons and helps them attract fish by reducing glare and creating a shadow that lures prey closer.