Lava heron

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Lava heron
Lava heron (Butorides sundevalli) -fishing on Galapagos.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Ardeidae
Genus: Butorides
Species: B. sundevalli
Binomial name
Butorides sundevalli
(Reichenow, 1877)
Synonyms[1]

Butorides striata sundevalli

The lava heron (Butorides sundevalli), also known as the Galápagos heron, is a species of heron endemic to the Galápagos Islands. The adult is slate-grey, which helps it blend in with the hardened lava. The back feathers typically have a silvery sheen and it has a short crest on its head. When breeding, the heron has a black beak and bright orange legs, but they fade to grey after the breeding season. Lava Herons are typically seen hunched over and they have a sharp alarm call. These highly territorial birds are found in intertidal zones and mangrove groves on all of the Galápagos Islands.

Santa Fe Island

The lava heron stalks small crabs and fish slowly before quickly spearing and eating them. They have also been known to eat the flies that gather near cacti. Unlike most herons, these birds nest in solitary pairs in either the lower branches of mangrove trees or under lava rocks. They can breed year-round, though typically from September to March, and can mate up to three times a year. These birds have no fear of humans.

This heron is considered a subspecies (or even just a colour morph) of the striated heron B. striata by some authorities (including the AOU and BirdLife International), and was formerly "lumped" with this species and the green heron B. virescens as the green-backed heron B. striatus.[1]

Footnotes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Heinzel, Hermann and Barnaby Hall. Galapagos Diary. Los Angeles; University of California Press, 2000.
  • BirdLife International (BLI) (2008). Butorides striata. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 7 January 2008.