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THE GREEN-BACKED HERON

29 July 2014

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The green-backed heron Butorides striata occurs widely in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australia and is a resident bird that does nog migrate. The specific epithet striatus is the Latin word for striped and either refers to the cream, white or buff edges of the dark green wings or to the central red-brown streak on the upper breast and throat. The eyes are deep orange, the bill is black and the legs and feet are bright red-orange to yellow-orange. It has a characteristic black crown and a long green dorsal crest. It was at first named Ardea striatus by Linnaeus in 1758 based on a specimen from Suriname in South America.

This type heron occurs singly in wooded areas along the margins of rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands and reed beds but occasionally ventures into open areas. In South Africa it is uncommon in the western, semi-arid regions but it is more common in the wetter north-eastern regions. It is... (Become a subscriber for more)

Reference:

Hockey, P A R, W R J Dean & P G Ryan (Eds) 2005. Roberts Birds of South Africa, seventh edition. Cape Town: Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Trust, pp. 596 – 597.

Article by Prof J du P Bothma

 

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