Family Herons (Ardeidae)

Least Concern

Black-headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala)


Taxonomy

French: Héron mélanocéphale German: Schwarzhalsreiher Spanish: Garza cabecinegra
Taxonomy:

Ardea melanocephala

Children and Vigors

, 1826,

no locality = possibly near Lake Chad

.

Closely related to A. humbloti. Monotypic.

Distribution:

Sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to Eritrea and S to South Africa.

Descriptive notes

92–96 cm; 710–1650 g. Smaller and relatively slimmer-bodied than A. cinerea, from which easily distinguished by black on head and neck, bicoloured wing... read more

Voice

Variety of harsh, squawking calls including a raucous croak or loud, nasal “kuark” away from... read more

Habitat

Largely terrestrial and associated much less with wetlands than most herons; typically found in... read more

Food and feeding

A wide range of vertebrates and invertebrates, mostly terrestrial but also aquatic; rodents (rates, water voles and musk-shrews), insects (... read more

Breeding

Mainly during rains; in places year-round, but peak still usually during rains, e.g. Senegambia and Guinea Bissau in Apr–Jun, Mali in... read more

Movements

Sedentary in equatorial zone; elsewhere apparently migratory, with movements related to dry seasons... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and common, but with rather patchy distribution and no overall indications of abundance; population of Niger estimated at... read more

Recommended citation

Martínez-Vilalta, A., Motis, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Black-headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/52678 on 19 July 2019).