Black-headed Heron ( Ardea melanocephala, family: Ardeidae)

black headed heron kruger national park birds The Black-headed Heron (Latin name Ardea melanocephala) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 63 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 589 also a picture of the Black-headed Heron on page 592. The Black-headed Heron belongs to the family of birds classified as Ardeidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Black-headed Heron is also known by these other names: Black-necked Heron.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Black-headed Heron is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a common resident

In terms of distribution of the Black-headed Heron in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Black-headed Heron : see above distribution map.

Kruger Park Blackheaded HeronIdentification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Black-headed Heron is a large bird much bigger than a Pied Crow. The height of the Black-headed Heron is about 92 cms and its weight is about 710 gms

The male and female Black-headed Heron have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is black.
  • Eye is yellow.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is black.
  • Back is brown.
  • Legs are black.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Black-headed Heron feeds in or around water mainly

Aquatic life forms

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Black-headed Heron takes on more than a single mate (it is bigamous).

The nesting habit of Black-headed Heron is to create the nest on the ground. The bird lays eggs which are cream in colour and number between 2 to 6

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Black-headed Heron are: wetlands

You can see Black-headed Heron in flocks. The bird will often also be seen singly.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Isikhwalimanzi / Ukhwalimanzi

Zulu ... uNokilonki

Afrikaans ...Swartkopreier

German ... Schwarzkopfreiher

Portuguese ... Gara-de-cabea-preta

French ... Hron mlanocphale

Dutch ... Zwartkopreiger

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 63

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,