Tag Archives: Green-backed Heron

Green-backed Heron

Butorides striata atricapillus

The Green-backed Heron, also known as the Striated Heron in many parts of its range, is a shy species inhabiting aquatic habitats (swamps, estuaries, lakes, rivers, streams, floodplains and mangrove stands), with a well-vegetated border. Here they feed on a wide-range of mostly water-related prey such as worms, insects, molluscs, crabs, frogs, fish (often attracted with a piece of bait, like floating bread) and even small vertebrates.

These relatively small herons (length 40cm, weight 215g) are mainly active from dusk to dawn. Green-backed Herons are monogamous and pairs usually breed well away from others of their species and only occasionally in small colonies. Their nests are shallow platforms constructed of twigs and reeds in the branches of trees of bushes. They breed throughout the year with a peak coinciding with the rainy season. Clutches of 2-5 eggs are incubated by both parents for 3-4 weeks. The chicks can fly strongly by the time they’re about 5 weeks old.

While this species has a wide distribution across the world (Asia, Australia, the Americas and Africa south of the Sahara), they’re confined mostly to the wetter eastern and northern provinces of South Africa. The IUCN lists the species as being of least concern, though they do note that the population is probably in decline due mostly to loss of habitat.