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Flickr - Rainbirder - Black Egret (Egretta ardesiaca).jpg

The black heron (Egretta ardesiaca) also known as the black egret, is an African heron. It is well known for its habit of using its wings to form a canopy when fishing. The black heron is a medium-sized (42.5–66 cm in height), black-plumaged heron with black bill, lores, legs and yellow feet. In breeding plumage it grows long plumes on the crown and nape. The black heron occurs patchily through Sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal and Sudan to South Africa, but is found mainly on the eastern half of the continent and in Madagascar. It has also been observed in Greece and Italy. It prefers shallow open waters, such as the edges of freshwater lakes and ponds. It may also be found in marshes, river edges, rice fields, and seasonally flooded grasslands. In coastal areas, it may be found feeding along tidal rivers and creeks, in alkaline lakes, and tidal flats.