Black-headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala)

The Black-headed Heron is a medium-sized Heron, standing 92cm (36") tall, with a 150cm (60") wingspan. A grey bird, with a black head and hindneck (immature is grey all over), contrasting with its white chin, throat and foreneck. Its shoulders and underparts are white/grey. It has very long, black legs and feet. When flying or preening, its black flight feathers can be seen, contrasting with the white underparts of its wings.
The similar Grey Heron has a more orange bill, a white streak across the top of its head and very long black feathers, extending from its eye, down the back of its neck.

Mostly solitary, it feeds both at night and during the day.

The Black Headed Heron is a wader, spearing fish and frogs with its sharp bill. It also hunts away from water, hunting insects and small mammals or birds. It waits motionless for prey, or slowly stalks its victim. Because the Black-headed Heron has a slower and less deadly approach to killing snakes than, for example, the Secretarybird, it is not uncommon to see the snake wrapping itself around the bird's bill - making very exciting wildlife viewing..!

The Black-headed Heron is seen in Southern Kenya, as far up as Lake Victoria in the West and along the Great Rift lakes.

Extra Facts
The Black-headed Heron's eyes turn from yellow, to red, when breeding.

Photographed in Kenya's Nairobi National Park, Olare Orok Conservancy and Masai Mara

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:bird, black-headed heron, heron, kenya, wildlife

Black-headed Heron ~ Stalking

A Black-headed Heron, stalking insects in a bush.

Black-headed Heron ~ Juvenile

A juvenile Black-headed Heron, stretched to its full height.

Black-headed Heron ~ In Action

A juvenile Black-headed Heron 'in action', standing tall, with its foot raised.

Black-headed Heron ~ & Lizard

Black-headed Heron eating a lizard.

Black-headed Heron ~ Swallowing A Lizard

Black-headed Heron ~ Swallowing A Lizard

Black-headed Heron ~ On Acacia Tree

A Black-headed Heron, standing on top of an Acacia tree in Nairobi National Park.

Black-headed Heron ~ Fishing

Adult Black-headed Heron, fishing, in the large lake in Nairobi National Park.

Black-headed Heron ~ Wading

Close-up of a Black-headed Heron, wading in a lake in Nairobi National Park.

Black-headed Heron ~ Full Size

Full-size image of adult Black-headed Heron, standing in tree.

Black-headed Heron ~ Hunting

A Black-headed Heron, standing in a bush, hunting for insects.

Black-headed Heron ~ Portrait

A full-size image of an adult Black-headed Heron's head, shoulders and back.

Black-headed Heron ~ Preening

Black-headed Heron Preening

Black-headed Heron ~ Flying

A Black-headed Heron, flying over a gorge in Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy.