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Black Heron or Black Egret

Afrikaans name: Swartreier

Black Egret

The beautiful Black Heron

Photo © Riaan van den Berg - Fotolia.com

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.

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References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 173

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 9

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 32

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 51

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 51

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 64

List of South African Birds

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