Family Herons (Ardeidae)


Madagascar Heron (Ardea humbloti)


French: Héron de Humblot German: Madagaskarreiher Spanish: Garza malgache
Other common names: Humblot's Heron, Malagasy Heron

Ardea humbloti

A. Milne-Edwards and A. Grandidier

, 1885,

eastern Madagascar


Closely related to A. melanocephala. Speculation that present species may be a colour morph of A. cinerea, based primarily on observation of adults of both species attending a nest containing one apparent A. cinerea chick and one much darker chick#R, considered unlikely. Monotypic.


Madagascar, where occurs mainly in W. Status unclear in Comoro Is, where almost annual on Maore (Mayotte)#R.

Descriptive notes

92–100 cm. Only member of Ardea with black chin and is separated from A. cinerea and  A. purpurea by solid dark cap, uniform grey... read more


Similar to that of A. cinerea, giving a loud, low-pitched barking “karrr” or “aaark” in... read more


Mainly along coast in fresh, brackish or saltwater. Seems to prefer tidal areas or reefs (... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly medium-sized to large fish, up to 30 cm long (one eel 48 cm long), once a moray eel (Muraenidae) or sea-snake; also mudskippers and... read more


Little known. To date few occupied nests located, Nov, Apr, mid Jul and early Aug, with females in breeding condition in early Dec, but... read more


Sedentary, though may perhaps disperse over long distances, with records of individuals (mostly... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Overall population put at 1000 mature individuals (based on surveys in 2003–2004) within a known range of 25,400 km², and suspected to be still... read more

Recommended citation

Martínez-Vilalta, A., Motis, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Madagascar Heron (Ardea humbloti). 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 on 29 February 2020).