The Black Herons (Egretta ardesiaca) – also known as Black Egrets -occur naturally in Africa – specifically south of the Sahara Desert, and mainly on the eastern half of the continent, including Madagascar.
Their range stretches between Senegal and Sudan and to the south. Some have been reported in Greece.
They occur in coastal areas, where they forage along tidal rivers and creeks, alkaline lakes, and tidal flats; as well as in marshes, river edges, rice fields, and flooded grasslands
The Black Herons display an interesting hunting method called canopy feeding. They use their wings like an umbrella (please refer to the below photo). This creates shaded areas in the water, which serves to attract fish. It may also help improve visibility underwater.
This medium-sized heron measures about 42.5 – 66 cm in height. As is suggested by their common name, their plumage is black, their legs are blackish, and their feet are bright yellow.
The Black Herons resemble the Slaty Egrets but are smaller, have only yellow toes (the legs are black), and lack the reddish foredeck and white throat of the Slaty Egrets.