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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Green-backed Heron

Afrikaans name: Groenrugreier

Green-backed Heron

Green-backed Heron

Photo © Steven Herbert

Butorides striatus

The Green-backed Heron is a small heron weighing only around 200 grams and having a length of about 40 cm.

In South Africa their distribution is mainly confined to the northern and southern regions of the country. They can be found near virtually any inland water habitat that is lined with dense vegetation.

The Green-backed Heron is a shy species and is often overlooked as it sits quietly in the vegetation. They do most of their hunting during the day.

They feed on a variety of animals that can be found in or near the water. These include fish, frogs, insects, small reptiles and spiders.

The pair builds a nest made of twigs and reeds usually a few metres off the ground. Sometimes it is made above the water. Between 2 and 5 eggs are laid and the eggs and young are tended to by both parents.

Green-backed Heron amongst the reeds

Green-backed Heron skulking in the reeds

Photo © Steven Herbert

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 38

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

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 54

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 14

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 19

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: 30

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: 66

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 2000 - Page: 66

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Year Published: 1949 - Page: 23

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: 38

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 55

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 55

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 62

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 66

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 24

The Herons Handbook - Author: James Hancock and James Kushlan - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 172

Wading Birds of the World - Revised edition - Author: Eric and Richard Soothill - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 28

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

List of South African Birds

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