🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Black-headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala)

I had an awesome visitor this morning, a Black-headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala). We don't often see them, mostly just after a veld fire, when they will snack on some unfortunate crispy tit-bits left in the wake of the fire. But this morning he was close to my garden fence and, as previously, didn't seem that perturbed about me taking some photos.

They mostly hunt near water, but will also hunt well away from water, taking large insects, small mammals, and birds. It will wait motionless for its prey, or slowly stalk its victim. It's fascinating to watch, but his patience long outlives mine, as he can stand motionless for longer than 10 minutes and by that time I think he's fallen asleep! Both sexes are alike, so I have no idea whether this is a male or a female.

Monogamous and usually colonial, they breed in small, mixed-species heronries. The male calls from a perch to attract a mate, raising its head and giving a loud yelp, sometimes extending its bill vertically as it does so. I've only heard that sound once, and I was totally thrilled!


  1. It is a regal looking fellow, nice to have such a visitor, we sometimes are visited by a White Faced Heron but are not thrilled about it because he is after our Goldfish , he sits on the fence behind the big fish pond, which is covered with mesh but still he tries to snag them.

    1. That he certainly is Glennis! I know what you mean about the Heron, on the weekend I had a Hamerkop (you can Google it) scouring my pond, luckily no fish, but I'm not thrilled about him catching all my frogs, so I did a little gentle coaxing to get him to move on!



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