Rufous-bellied Heron ( Ardeola rufiventris, family: Ardeidae)

rufous bellied heron Kruger National Park birds The Rufous-bellied Heron (Latin name Ardeola rufiventris) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 75 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 595 also a picture of the Rufous-bellied Heron on page 577. The Rufous-bellied Heron belongs to the family of birds classified as Ardeidae.

The Robert's 7 Latin name for Rufous-bellied Heron has changed from Butorides rufiventris in Robert's 6 to Ardeola rufiventris

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 Rufous-bellied Heron is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

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

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

The Rufous-bellied Heron is a bird about the size of a Francolin now called Spurfowl. The height of the Rufous-bellied Heron is about 39 cms and its weight is about 300 gms

You will find that the male Rufous-bellied Heron plumage and colours are different to that of the female Rufous-bellied Heron

  • Head is grey.
  • Eye is yellow.
  • Bill is yellow.
  • Throat is grey.
  • Back is grey.
  • Legs are yellow.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Rufous-bellied Heron feeds on the ground and in or around water mainly


Aquatic life forms

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Rufous-bellied Heron is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Ardeola rufiventris will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Rufous-bellied Heron is to create the nest on water. The bird lays eggs which are green in colour and number between 2 to 5

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Rufous-bellied Heron are: wetlands

You will normally see the Rufous-bellied Heron by itself rather than in the company of birds of the same species.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Unknown

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Rooipensreier

German ... Rotbauchreiher

Portuguese ... Gara-de-barriga-vermelha

French ... Crabier ventre roux

Dutch ... Roodbuikreiger

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

Robert's 7th edition number ... 75

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 ,