Summer Resident Winter
The squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides) is a small heron, 44–47 centimetres (17–19 in) long, of which the body is 20–23 centimetres (7.9–9.1 in), with 80–92 centimetres (31–36 in) wingspan. It is of Old World origins, breeding in southern Europe and the Greater Middle East.
The squacco heron is a migrant, wintering in Africa. It is rare north of its breeding range. This is a stocky species with a short neck, short thick bill and buff-brown back. In summer, adults have long neck feathers. Its appearance is transformed in flight, when it looks very white due to the colour of the wings. The squacco heron's breeding habitat is marshy wetlands in warm countries. The birds nest in small colonies, often with other wading birds, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. Three to four eggs are laid. They feed on fish, frogs and insects.
The English common name squacco comes via Francis Willughby (c. 1672) quoting a local Italian name sguacco. The current spelling comes John Hill in 1752. The scientific name comes from Latin ardeola, little heron, and ralloides, Latin rallus, a rail and Greek -oides, resembling.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Ardeola ralloides". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- David William Snow, Christopher Perrins (Eds) (1997). The Birds of the Western Palearctic [Abridged]. OUP. ISBN 0-19-854099-X.
- Lockwood, W B (1993). The Oxford Dictionary of British Bird Names. OUP. ISBN 978-0-19-866196-2.
- Jobling, James A (1991). A Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. OUP. ISBN 0-19-854634-3.
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