LC
Goliath Heron Ardea goliath



Justification

Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Trend justification
The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Ecology

Behaviour This species is not migratory but may make local dispersive or nomadic movements in response to seasonal habitat changes (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Breeding usually coincides with the start of the rains although in some areas the species breed in any month of the year (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) or only when conditions are most favourable (i.e. not every year) (del Hoyo et al. 1992). It is not a gregarious species (del Hoyo et al. 1992) and usually nests and forages in solitary pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kushlan and Hancock 2005). Occasionally it may also nest in small single- or mixed-species colonies (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kushlan and Hancock 2005) and has been known to forage in larger flocks (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Habitat The species inhabits both coastal and inland (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) freshwater and saline waters (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kushlan and Hancock 2005), showing a preference for (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) shallow water along the shores of lakes, rivers (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kushlan and Hancock 2005) and lagoons (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). Other suitable habitats include marshes, tidal estuaries, reefs, mangrove creeks (del Hoyo et al. 1992) and waterholes in woodland savanna (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). The species often forages away from the shore in deep water near floating vegetation (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). Diet Its diet consists predominantly of large fish 15-50 cm long although it will also take frogs, lizards, snakes, rodents, crabs, prawns and floating carrion (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Breeding site The nest is a platform of sticks or reeds (del Hoyo et al. 1992) placed less than 3 m high in trees over water, on partly submerged trees, low bushes, mangroves, cliffs, sedges, papyrus, reeds (del Hoyo et al. 1992) or on bare ground (Kushlan and Hancock 2005), showing a preference for nest sites that are surrounded by water (del Hoyo et al. 1992) (e.g. islands or islands of vegetation in lakes) (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) but also utilising on riverbanks and lakeshores (Kushlan and Hancock 2005).

Acknowledgements

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Ardea goliath. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/06/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/06/2019.