The Goliath heron (Ardea goliath) also known as the giant heron belongs to the family Ardeidae. These heron species are distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq and Iran. Scattered populations occur in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these birds and has listed them as of "Least Concern".
These birds are world's largest heron species. The height is between 120 to 150 cm. These bird species measure 135 to 150 in length and weigh 4,300 to 5,000 grams. Their wingspan is 210 to 230 cm. The females are smaller and have a shorter bill. The upper part is slate gray. The head, crest and face are chestnut in color. The back and sides of the neck are chestnut. The chin, throat, fore neck and upper breast are white. Black streaks run across the fore neck and upper breast. The eyes and orbital areas are yellow. The upper wing is slate gray and the under wing is chestnut.
These herons inhabit shallow waters along lakes, rivers, swamps, mangrove wetlands, reefs, and river deltas. They feed on medium sized fish including breams, mullet, tilapia and carp. They also feed on frogs, crustaceans, small mammals, reptiles and insects. They breed during the rainy season. These herons nest on low trees and the nest may have two to five eggs. The parents feed the young by regurgitation in the nest.
|Indian birds - Goliath heron - Ardea goliath|
Image source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Goliath_Heron_RWD1.jpg
Author: Dick Daniels (http://carolinabirds.org/) | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Current topic in Birds of India: Goliath heron - Ardea goliath.