Malagasy Pond Heron (Ardeola idae)

The Malagasy Pond Heron or the Madagascar squacco heron is scientifically identified as Ardeola idae. It belongs to the heron family Ardeidae. This monotypic bird is endemic to Madagascar, Réunion, and the Seychelles. It is endangered due to habitat destruction.

  Gustav Hartlaub, a German ornithologist, initiated the description of the Malagasy pond heron in 1860.
The Malagasy Pond Heron measures a little less than 50 cm (18–20 in) high and weighs between 250 and 350 g (9–12 oz) in weight. The Malagasy Pond Heron has a predominately green bill, with a dark tip. Males and females are more or less similar in weight and appearance. However, the Malagasy Pond Herons’ feather colors, eye colors, and bill colors vary according to their age groups and reproductive status. 

Adults have different plumage colors, whether they are breeding or not. When the Malagasy Pond Heron is not breeding, its plumage looks different. The crown and the upperparts look buff, and black. When breeding, the Malagasy Pond Heron is characterized by its predominant snow-white plumage, with an azure blue bill. Post-breeding plumage emerges on its back, neck, and breast. The juvenile Malagasy Pond Heron has a dull orange bill with pale green eyes. The chick, however, has a yellow buff.

Another striking characteristic of the Malagasy Pond Heron is their ability to communicate through distinctive calling methods. When at flight and when burring. The flight call may last 0.5 s with 5-second intervals as a means to keep distances between other birds in flight. In contrast, they communicate through the burr call when rivals approach their nests.

  The Malagasy pond herons breed in Madagascar, Réunion, and the Seychelles. When they are not breeding, they migrate to eastern mainland Africa. 

To spot the Malagasy Pond Heron, Safari-Madagascar offers birding tours in the wetlands of Antananarivo and other areas. Other tours are also available to satisfy your birding interests. 

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