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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

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 - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1959 - Page: 173

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

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 16

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 17

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

Ian Sinclair's Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 56

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 68

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 2000 - Page: 68

Questions and Answers - Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Year Published: 1990 - Page: 21

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Year Published: 1949 - Page: 24

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 35

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1981 - Page: 39

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 - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 60

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

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 51

The Herons Handbook - Author: James Hancock and James Kushlan - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 101

Wading Birds of the World - Revised edition - Author: Eric and Richard Soothill - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 42

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 30

List of South African Birds

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