Ardea goliath   Cretzchmar,  1827 (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: Louise Meintjes

Size: 140-150 cm.

Voice: Gargling and bellowing.

Habits: Solitary, shy, diurnal, generally hunt in shallow waters.

Sexes alike. Adult: A gigantic purple heron-like bird, bill horny-slaty with yellowish lower mandible. Crown and crest deep vinous chestnut, neck rufous-cinnamon, upper parts, wings and tail slaty-grey, iris yellow with an outer red rim. Chin, cheeks and throat white, breast plumes elongated, streaked white and slaty-black, under-parts deep chestnut, legs and feet dark slaty-black. Juvenile: with black forehead and crown, paler rufous hind neck, indistinct neck stripes, rufous edged grey upperparts and white underparts streaked with brown.

Breeding season: Breeding usually coincides with the start of the rains although in some areas the species breed in any month of the year or only when conditions are most favourable (i.e. not every year).

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Goliath Heron (English)
• Gaint Heron (English)
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Estuarine, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  large fish 15-50 cm long although it will also take frogs, lizards, snakes, rodents, crabs, prawns and floating carrion
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• North East INDIA
• Orissa, Bhitarkanika INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Kumar, A; Sati, JP; Tak, PC and Alfred, JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation Zoological Survey of India, Dehra Dun 468 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • PBase Available at -
  • Chadha, S and Sekar, KC (1999) Bhitarkanika:myth and reality Nataraj publishers, Dehra Dun Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at -
  • Manakadan R and Pittie A (2001) Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent BUCEROS Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetland 6(1) 26pp Available at -
  • Kumar A, sati JP and Tak CK (2003) Checklist of Indian Waterbids Buceros Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetlands 8(1) 30pp Available at -
  • Ali S and Ripley SD (1968) Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan Oxford university press 1 1-368pp Available at - NIO
  • Gopi GV and Pandav B (2007) Avifauna of Bhitarkanika Mangroves, India Zoo's print journal 22(10) 2839-2847pp Available at -

Page last updated on:2012-08-02

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