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Common name Squacco heron
Scientific name Ardeola ralloides
Type Waterbirds
Status Migrator

Mid-sized wader (approx 47 cm or 18.5 in). Pink or orange brown upperparts, head and breast. Whitish underparts. Crest like a mane of brown feathers on the head. Bluish bill with a black tip. Long and orange legs. White wings and tail. Outside the breeding season, all the plumage is more brown and shows clearer longitudinal stretch marks.



Where it lives

Species linked to freshwater wetlands with dense marsh vegetation on the border, such as lagoons, channels or ends of reservoirs. It prefers shallow water.

How it lives

Summer species in the province. Malaga also hosts individuals in migratory passage. This heron breeds from April. Colonial or lonely. It makes one annual laying of 4 to 6 eggs. Nest on platforms at a certain height of the water between the border of vegetation of the wetland. Squacco herons feed on small fish, larvae and adults of amphibians or insects. Twilight habits.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Species uncommon in the province but that can be watched in some wetlands of the west coast (Las Medranas in Marbella, Cancelada in Estepona), in the stretch of the Grande river to meet with the Guadalhorce, at the mouth of the Vélez and Guadalhorce rivers and in the Fuente de Piedra lagoon.

Curious facts

Like other herons, to go unnoticed it adopts the posture of the stake, that consists of keeping the neck vertical, the bill pointing to the sky, and being completely still. In this way, and helped by its plumage, the Squacco Heron is confused with the environment and marsh vegetation. It is usually very quiet, but at dusk the hunger seems to make this wader lose its discretion because it emits cries that announce that the search for food begins.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration