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Goliath Heron in Uganda (“Ardea goliath”)

Goliath Heron

What to Know About Goliath Heron in Uganda?

The Goliath Heron in Uganda is one of the African Uganda Birds seen during a Uganda birding Tour. Also called the giant heron, the Goliath Heron is the largest wading bird of the heron family- Ardeidae, Kingdom-Animalia, phylum Chordata, Class-Aves, order pelecaniformes and the Ardea species.

The goliath heron is such giant with a weight about 4-5kg, length between 120-152 cm and wingspan is between 185-230 cm.

The tarsus of the goliath heron measures from 21.2-25.5 cm while the bill is about 24cm. it can live up to 22 years.

In Uganda, the goliath heron can be seen along the shores of kazinga channel on a boat cruise in queen Elizabeth national park.

How Does the Goliath Heron in Uganda Look Like?

The goliath heron has chestnut bushy crest, head, face, back and sides of the neck. Its upper neck, breast, chin and throat are white.

The fore neck is white with dark streaks. It has slate-grey back upper wings and pale chestnut underwing. The goliath heron has a dark upper mandible with yellowish lores and orbital areas.

The legs and feet are dark while its eyes are yellowish and the plumage is slate grey. The adult male and female are similar and their young ones resemble the parents too, except that the chicks are quite paler.

How Does a Goliath Heron in Uganda Sing and Make Calls?

It has a unique deep bark like that of an old dog. Sounds often described as “kowoork” can be heard up to 2km. Its breeding calls includes croaks, squawks, growls and gurgles.

When frightened, it sounds a shaper and higher voice called “arrk” very sharp and louder, when the neck is extended, a “krooo” voice is usually heard.

How Does the Goliath Heron in Uganda Feed

The goliath heron mainly feeds on snakes, fish, crustaceans and amphibians. They are passive hunters and they walk slower than other herons in deep water, standing still for about an hour waiting for prey, it catches the prey by its open bill and swallow.

However big the goliath heron is, it sometimes disturbed by other birds who take away their its prey. For example, the African fish eagles.

How Does the Goliath Heron in Uganda Nest

The goliath heron is usually seen alone or in a pair. They nest lonely, occasionally in colonies with other heron species.

It is a shy bird that nests in large platform made with sticks in trees, low bushes, rocks, reed beds, and mangroves abut always around the water.

How Does the Goliath Heron in Uganda Breed?

The huge bird in most cases stays alone and its courtship displays are not clearly known but it’s a monogamous bird whose crest, neck, breast and back develop towards the breeding period.

How Does the Goliath Heron in Uganda Reproduce?

The female goliath heron lays between 2-3 eggs, pale blue in color and then the parents incubate them for about a month.

After hatching, both parents attend their kids and the chicks are fed by regurgitation. The older siblings torture the young ones a lot and that’s probably the reason they are not so common. Fledging takes about six weeks before chicks start flying.

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