Ardea humbloti - Héron de Humblot
- Size: 100 cm
- Wingspan: 180 cm.
- Weight: -
At a glance, this heron looks just like a Grey Heron. With a similar size and wingspan, Humblot's Heron differs by its uniform dark grey colour, without the white areas that a Grey Heron could have. On its head is a nearly black mask. This starts from the forehead and goes down to the neck, ending with two big black feathers. The mask also slightly covers the cheeks. The chin is also black. The pale yellow iris and lores, with no feathers and a greyish-green colour, contrast with the mask. The beak is long and strong, very pale yellow during non-breeding season and tending to orange in breeding season. The rest of the body is grey, with darker remiges. Vaporous feathers on the mantle and the base of the neck are clearer, reminding us of the Ardeidae family. The legs and feet are usually grey-brown. There is no sexual dimorphism in Humblot's Heron. Juveniles look like adults with a dark grey mask instead of black. The throat is white and the beak greyish yellow.
Subspecific information monotypic species
- Héron de Humblot,
- Garza malgache,
- madagaszkári gém,
- Airone di Humblot,
- volavka masková,
- volavka madagaskarská,
- bernat de Madagascar,
- czapla maskowa,
- Мадагаскарская цапля,
Humblot's Heron is an aquatic bird that can inhabit shallow wetlands, saline or freshwater environments. It is usually found closer to coastal areas or rocky islets, but it also prefers to live around lakes, rivers, mangroves, estuaries, lagoons and rice fields.
Behaviour character trait
Humblot's Heron is generally solitary. It feeds alone, rarely forming small colonies. It can stay standing for hours hunting in shallow waters.
Humblot's Heron feeds on small and large fish up to 20 cm in length as well as crustaceans. It also catches eels.
Humblot's Heron usually nests alone although sometimes it may settle among colonies of other ardeids.
Humblot's Heron is endemic to Madagascar and can be seen in the Comoros Archipelago. In Madagascar, it is mainly found along the western coast, in wet areas around the Ampijoroa Forest Reserve, including around Lake Amboromalandy and along the coast between Tuléar and the Onilahy River up to the bay of Saint-Augustin. Its distribution extends from sea level to 1,500 meters above sea level. It has become regular in Mayotte. Sightings are rare on Mohéli, nonexistent on Grand Comore, and uncertain on Anjouan.
Threats - protection
IUCN conservation status
in the Wild
The population of Humblot's Heron had never been quantified but it is known to be very small and endangered. Data from 2003 and 2004 concluded that there are a maximum of 1,500 individuals, or around 1,000 adults. It is listed on the IUCN's Red List and its numbers are constantly declining due to the degradation and overexploitation of its habitat, such as the replacement of wetlands with rice fields in Madagascar. Deforestation on the island has indirectly led to a decrease in its numbers due to the erosion of deforested land filling in shallow waters. Poaching and looting of the nests by local populations are also contributors to this dramatic decrease in numbers. Humblot's Heron breeds in the protected reserves of Madagascar, unfortunately 50% of its population breeds outside these zones and is thus very poorly protected.
Sources of information
Translation by AI Oiseaux.net
published: 23-02-2016 - Updated: 23-02-2016
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