Family Herons (Ardeidae)


Slaty Egret (Egretta vinaceigula)


French: Aigrette vineuse German: Braunkehlreiher Spanish: Garceta gorjirroja

Melanophoyx vinaceigula


, 1895,

Potchefstroom, North West Province, South Africa


Formerly considered merely a colour morph of E. ardesiaca. Monotypic.


N Botswana (Okavango Delta and R Chobe) and NE Namibia (Caprivi Strip) through R Zambezi (NW Zimbabwe) and N to Liuwa Plains, Kafue Flats and Bangweulu Swamp, in Zambia. Possibly also S DRCongo, E Angola, Mozambique and Malawi; formerly occurred in South Africa.

Descriptive notes

43–60 cm; 250–340 g. Plumage largely dark blue-grey, frequently appearing black in the field, with red-brown chin, throat and upper foreneck, narrow grey crest... read more


Vocalizations very poorly known. Gives a triple “kraak” during antagonistic encounters.


Marshes, floodplains; apparently prefers extensive shallow inundation zones with pools and channels... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly fish 5–10 cm long, especially cichlids, sometimes attracted by using reed stems as bait; occasionally dragonflies (caught in... read more


Little known; very few records. Breeding noted Feb–Jun (just after height of local floods). Forms small colonies of 3–60 nests... read more


Apparently sedentary, but some local movements and even wider dispersal probably connected with... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Population most recently estimated at 2500–3300 mature individuals, of which 500–1000 in Zambia (where not known to breed, though one record of a very... read more

Recommended citation

Martínez-Vilalta, A., Motis, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Slaty Egret (Egretta vinaceigula). 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 17 February 2020).