White-backed Night-Heron ( Gorsachius leuconotus, family: Ardeidae)

Birds & Birding in the Kruger National Park South Africa. In Roberts 6 this bird was called White-backed Night Heron

white backed night heron kruger national park birds The White-backed Night-Heron (Latin name Gorsachius leuconotus) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 77 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 598 also a picture of the White-backed Night-Heron on page 577. The White-backed Night-Heron belongs to the family of birds classified as Ardeidae.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the White-backed Night-Heron was called the White-backed Night 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 White-backed Night-Heron is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a rare resident

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

Identification 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 White-backed Night-Heron is a largish bird about the same size as a Pied Crow. The height of the White-backed Night-Heron is about 55 cms and its weight is about 440 gms

The male and female White-backed Night-Heron have the same plumage and colours

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

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The White-backed Night-Heron feeds on the ground mainly


Aquatic life forms

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The White-backed Night-Heron is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Gorsachius leuconotus will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of White-backed Night-Heron is to create the nest on the ground. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 2 to 4

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for White-backed Night-Heron are: wetlands and riverine areas

You can expect to see White-backed Night-Heron in flocks, or pairs or as single birds.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Unknown

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Witrugnagreier

German ... Weircken-Nachtreiher

Portuguese ... Gara-nocturna-de-dorso-branco

French ... Bihoreau dos blanc

Dutch ... Witrugkwak

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

Robert's 7th edition number ... 77

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 , www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za