The black-headed heron (Ardea melanocephala) is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae, common throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. It is mainly resident, but some west African birds move further north in the rainy season.

This species usually breeds in the wet season in colonies in trees, reedbeds or cliffs. It builds a bulky stick nest, and lays 2–4 eggs.

It often feeds in shallow water, spearing fish or frogs with its long, sharp bill. It 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.

The black-headed heron is a large bird, standing 85 cm tall, and it has a 150 cm wingspan. It is nearly as large as the grey heron, which it resembles in appearance, although it is generally darker. Its plumage is largely grey above, and paler grey below. It has a powerful dusky bill.



The flight is slow, with the neck retracted. This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, cranes, and spoonbills, which extend their necks. The white underwing coverts are striking in flight.

The call is a loud croaking.
Black-headed Heron
Date Location Count
2020-02-16 08:00Lac Mbeubeusse1
2020-02-20 09:15Lac Retba (Lac Rose)--Bas-fond Deni Guedji1
2020-02-20 08:00Deni Biram Ndao (dunes)1
2020-02-22 08:00RN de Somone--Lodge de Dalaal Diam1
2020-02-02 12:06Tujereng Lagoon2
2020-02-05 08:30Kotu Creek--Bridge and Mouth2
2020-02-09 07:45Kotu Creek2
2020-02-13 08:55Abuko NR10
2020-02-16 08:10Tambi rice fields1
2020-01-27 08:08Kartong Wetland1
2020-02-03 20:00Banjul International Airport4
2020-02-13 15:47Marakissa Rivercamp2
2020-02-04 08:17Diembéring--Ecoparc1
2020-02-08 11:11Bintang1
2020-02-10 10:45Kampanti Raptor Bridge1
2020-02-15 09:00Tendaba Mangroves5
2020-02-11 12:45Njauri Reservoir5
2020-02-11 08:47Jakhaly Rice Fields2
2020-02-12 11:45Bird Safari Camp10
2020-02-10 08:24Janjanbureh--North Bank1
2020-02-02 15:00Sakumono Lagoon1
2020-02-13 17:45Grand Hotel Djibloho1
2020-01-30 08:00Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest NP--Buhoma1
2020-02-01 06:30Queen Elizabeth II NP2
2020-02-01 16:00Queen Elizabeth II NP--Kazinga Channel1
2020-01-27 07:00Lake Nkuruba NR2
2020-02-11 07:39Bwindi-Impenetrable NP--Ruhija1
2020-01-27 12:42Kibale Forest NP5
2020-02-18 10:23Bigodi Swamp3
2020-02-05 07:05Murchison Falls NP--north side (Paraa to Albert Nile swamps)5
2020-02-06 07:15Murchison Falls NP--Boat trip Paraa to Victoria Nile Delta2
2020-02-19 06:43Murchison Falls NP--Nile River2
2020-02-20 06:58Kigali-gen area- Pls if possible, use specific locations.5
2020-02-05 14:00Murchison Falls NP--Boat trip Paraa to Murchison Falls1
2020-01-28 08:00Lake Mburo NP--Entrance Road4
2020-02-08 07:53Lake Mburo NP1
2020-02-20 10:00Akagera NP--Mutumba Hills Campsite
2020-02-19 08:30Akagera NP (southern area)
2020-02-12 15:01Akagera NP--Lac Ihema3
2020-02-06 09:30Mabamba Swamp1
2020-02-05 09:41Entebbe Botanical Garden2
2020-02-05 06:30Tongabezi Lodge and River Club1
2020-02-09 15:34Zambesi river cruise (ZW side)1
2020-02-22 14:36Livingstone Treatment Works7
2020-02-22 18:13Speke Bay Lodge10
2020-02-22 11:21Serengeti NP--Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp2
2020-02-19 06:02Hwange National Park--Hwange Main Camp3
2020-01-31 08:30Paternoster to St Helena Bay1
2020-02-02 06:49Maasai Mara NR--Mara Triangle22
2020-02-04 07:15Masaai Mara NR--Mara River (North)2
2020-02-15 07:26Berg River Estuary2
2020-02-21 14:57Serengeti NP--Kubu Kubu Tented Lodge1
2020-02-11 08:44Serengeti NP--Seronera1
2020-02-13 06:30Serengeti NP13
2020-01-27 08:26Ngorongoro Conservation Area--Ndutu (general area)1
2020-02-12 07:43Ngorongoro Conservation Area--Lake Masek1
2020-01-31 07:27Lake Nakuru NP3
2020-02-01 07:15Hawassa Lake Promenade2
2020-02-08 07:00Ngorongoro Conservation Area6
2020-01-24 08:30Rondevlei Nature Reserve2
2020-02-16 06:30Ngorongoro Conservation Area--Ngorongoro Crater3
2020-02-22 11:48Strandfontein WTP3
2020-01-30 16:30Paardevlei1
2020-02-04 08:00Manguo Swamp1
2020-02-15 15:00Lake Manyara NP (Arusha)9
2020-02-15 06:55Lake Manyara NP (Manyara)
2020-01-27 07:40Paradise Lost1
2020-01-27 07:21Kfeet, Wetlands & Lily Lake, Karura Forest1
2020-01-26 13:18Wajee Camp and Mukurweini area1
2020-01-29 06:30Ole Sereni Hotel1
2020-02-22 11:30Nairobi NP6
2020-02-19 07:15Tarangire NP--Lemiyon Circuit Grasslands1
2020-02-20 07:00Tarangire NP1
2020-02-13 10:15Eluanata Dam2
2020-02-16 08:30Magongo Hills5
2020-02-20 12:30Arusha Airport4
2020-02-16 08:04Arusha NP2
2020-02-22 08:00Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge1
2020-02-03 07:21Amboseli NP1
2020-02-22 11:48Kilimanjaro International Airport 1
2020-01-30 06:20Luwawa Forest Lodge1
2020-02-18 16:00Potteberg Guest Farm1
2020-02-18 16:57Benfontein Nature Reserve1
2020-01-26 13:50Borakalalo NP1
2020-02-11 08:00Hondo Hondo Udzungwa Forest Camp1
2020-01-29 07:18Sagala Lodge/Ndara Ranch1
2020-02-22 11:10Tsavo East NP--southern section6
2020-02-09 06:04Zaagkuildrift Rd (Please be more specific)
2020-02-09 07:59Soutpan1
2020-02-08 07:31Soetdoring Nature Reserve1
2020-02-02 10:34Rooiwal WTP3
2020-02-19 07:41Eagle Canyon Golf Estate1
2020-02-19 09:01Golden Harvest Park4
2020-02-10 09:24Wilderness NP--Rondevlei Bird Hide2
2020-02-10 10:20LC de Villiers Sports Center12
2020-02-10 10:32University of Pretoria--Experimental Farm15
2020-02-09 11:14Free State Botanical Gardens1
2020-02-15 05:43Rietvlei Nature Reserve1
2020-02-08 16:28OR Tambo International Airport1
2020-02-22 07:27Bronkhorstspruit Dam1
2020-01-25 05:40Wilge River Valley (upper)2
2020-02-15 14:02Marievale Bird Sanctuary2
2020-01-26 08:20Marievale Bird Sanctuary--Otter Hide2
2020-02-15 07:36Marievale Bird Sanctuary--Hadeda Hide1
2020-02-01 07:50Selous Game Reserve--Roho Ya Selous2
2020-02-08 10:30Ramisi Sugar Dam
2020-01-24 08:45Lake Jilore5
2020-01-25 02:50Loskop Dam Nature Reserve5
2020-02-08 07:33Tiwi Swamp6
2020-02-05 13:20Nguuni Nature Sanctuary1
2020-02-09 16:13Diani Golf Club1
2020-02-09 06:22Kongo River Estuary @ Tiwi Beach
2020-01-24 15:55Arabuko-Sokoke Forest--Swamp1
2020-01-31 13:10Haller Park--Bamburi Nature Trail1
2020-02-01 12:15Bamburi/Mombasa North Beach1
2020-02-02 07:08Temple Point & Mida Creek Mouth, Watamu1
2020-01-24 07:01Lake Chem Chem15
2020-02-04 07:00Mwamba Field Study Centre1
2020-02-07 08:25Sabaki River Estuary
2020-01-31 13:39Malindi Harbour1
2020-01-26 11:30Liwonde National Park--Mvuu1
2020-02-12 06:23Manta Resort2
2020-01-24 05:30Zomba Plateau--campsite1
2020-02-02 14:30Verloren Valei Nature Reserve2
2020-02-15 15:54Julius Nyerere International Airport5
2020-02-15 15:45Botanical Garden3
2020-02-20 09:47Addo Elephant NP--Main Rest Camp2
2020-02-20 07:40EN1--Zangue River1
2020-02-20 07:10Wakkerstroom--BirdLife office3
2020-02-20 06:15Wakkerstroom bridge/causeway3
2020-02-18 17:20Wakkerstroom Wetlands--Clive Beck Hide1
2020-02-16 06:00Kruger NP--Transport Dam1
2020-01-26 14:00Midmar Dam - South Shore (Thurlow Gate)2
2020-02-08 13:00Karkloof - Lower Rd2
2020-02-05 08:45Cedara Agricultural College Conservancy1
2020-02-22 05:10Macaneta--Tidal wetland, dune forests and coast4
2020-02-07 12:23Ndumo GR3
2020-02-18 06:30Maputo Elephant Game Reserve