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Goliath Heron - BirdForum Opus

Photo by sal
Sabie river near Lower Sabie camp, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Ardea goliath


135–150 cm
Chestnut head, neck and underparts distinguish it from all other herons.
Sexes similar


Africa, possibly also in India.
Breeds widely but discontinuously across sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to Ethiopia and Somalia and south to eastern South Africa. Has been recorded on Madagascar.

There are also occasional records from the Nile Valley especially Lake Nasser, more regularly on the Red Sea coasts of Egypt and Arabia but rare north to the Gulf of Aqaba and has also been reported from Kuwait, Syria and the Hula Swamp in Israel. Formerly occurred in the marshes of southern Iraq but current status there is unknown.

Rarely seen and little-known further east but recorded from coastal Iran and Pakistan to Bangladesh and south to Sri Lanka.

Photo by Alan Manson
Near Lake Bhangazi, iSimangaliso Wetland Reserve, South Africa, February 2008


This is a monotypic species[1].


Slow-flowing rivers, lakes and swamps, also estuaries, mangroves and mudflats



Their diet consists mostly of large fish.


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved May 2014)
  3. BF Member Observations

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