The Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides), is a small, stocky heron, with a short neck, short thick bill and buff-brown back. It is about 45cm (18in) long and a 90cm (34in) wingspan.
The Squacco Heron is a migrant, wintering in Africa and is a fairly common resident in South Africa. In summer, adults have long neck feathers. Its appearance is transformed in flight, when it looks very white due to the colour of the wings.
Usually solitary, the Squacco Heron is found in marshy wetlands, lakes, lagoons and sewage ponds and the Marievale Bird Sanctuary is an ideal habitat. This heron was photographed in December and shows its summer plumage.
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Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Springs, East Rand, South Africa, Gauteng
Clive Rathband FRPS FPSSA EFIAP