Goliath Heron: Champion of the World

Such a name to live up to!  The Goliath Heron Ardea goliath, is the largest living heron. It stands 5 feet high, nearly as tall as me. Its wingspan can reach 7ft 6in (my arm-span is only 5ft 4in, about the same as my height).

Goliath Heron

They stalk the shallows or the weedy banks, moving with a stately, ponderous gait. They are largely solitary, and because of their size they have few predators.

This one struck at a tempting mouthful, but missed, and then in embarrassment at such a public failure, he did a sort of shimmy, stuck out his elbows and and fluffed up his gorgeous feathers:

Goliath Heron

And tried again, to no avail.

Their huge size means they can catch and, eventually, eat very large fish. Watch this video, but be warned it takes a LONG time to swallow its humongous catfish :

They have a variety of calls, described rather wonderfully by www.oiseaux-birds.com as “similar to raucous barks of an old dog. Its calls include croaks, squawks, growls and gurgles. They are mostly silent outside breeding season.” I could only find one recording, made when the bird was flying overhead in South Africa:

Happily, they are not endangered, and are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

3 thoughts on “Goliath Heron: Champion of the World”

  1. I can only imagine that eye/end of beak coordination to catch your food, must take a great deal of practice. Sort of like learning to eat with chop sticks from up real close. Huge wingspan…must be awesome to see them flying…we have Blue Herons here…amazing to see them elegantly become airborne, when disturbed of their upright position of dining on fish or frogs, in the pond.

    Like

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