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the web of life in southern Africa

Ardeola idae (Malagasy pond-heron, Madagascar squacco heron) 

Madagaskar-ralreier, Malgassiese ralreier [Afrikaans]; Madagaskar-ralreiger [Dutch]; Crabier blanc [French]; Madagaskar-rallenreiher [German]; Garça-caranguejeira de Madagascar [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Ciconiiformes > Family: Ardeidae

Ardeola idae (Malagasy pond-heron, Madagascar squacco heron)   

Malagasy pond-heron, Ifotaka, Madagascar. [photo Adam Riley ©, Rockjumper Tours]


Distribution and habitat

Breeds in Madagascar and Aldabra, heading west in the non-breeding season to Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique. It generally favours small grassy lakes, marshes, ponds, streams and ditches.

Distribution of Malagasy pond-heron in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).

Movements and migrations

Breeds in the period from October-March, then heads south to its non-breeding grounds (which include southern Africa), where it stays from May-September.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.