Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Pelecaniformes Ardeidae

Scientific Name: Ardea goliath
Species Authority: Cretzschmar, 1827
Common Name(s):
English Goliath Heron
French Héron goliath
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2009 Least Concern (LC)
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Angola (Angola); Bangladesh; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Kenya; Lesotho; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Pakistan; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Jordan; Liberia; Oman; Syrian Arab Republic
Present - origin uncertain:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 17800000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2100
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 6700-67000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour This species is not migratory but may make local dispersive or nomadic movements in response to seasonal habitat changes (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Breeding usually coincides with the start of the rains although in some areas the species breed in any month of the year (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) or only when conditions are most favourable (i.e. not every year) (del Hoyo et al. 1992). It is not a gregarious species (del Hoyo et al. 1992) and usually nests and forages in solitary pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kushlan and Hancock 2005). Occasionally it may also nest in small single- or mixed-species colonies (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kushlan and Hancock 2005) and has been known to forage in larger flocks (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Habitat The species inhabits both coastal and inland (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) freshwater and saline waters (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kushlan and Hancock 2005), showing a preference for (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) shallow water along the shores of lakes, rivers (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kushlan and Hancock 2005) and lagoons (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). Other suitable habitats include marshes, tidal estuaries, reefs, mangrove creeks (del Hoyo et al. 1992) and waterholes in woodland savanna (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). The species often forages away from the shore in deep water near floating vegetation (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). Diet Its diet consists predominantly of large fish 15-50 cm long although it will also take frogs, lizards, snakes, rodents, crabs, prawns and floating carrion (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Breeding site The nest is a platform of sticks or reeds (del Hoyo et al. 1992) placed less than 3 m high in trees over water, on partly submerged trees, low bushes, mangroves, cliffs, sedges, papyrus, reeds (del Hoyo et al. 1992) or on bare ground (Kushlan and Hancock 2005), showing a preference for nest sites that are surrounded by water (del Hoyo et al. 1992) (e.g. islands or islands of vegetation in lakes) (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) but also utilising on riverbanks and lakeshores (Kushlan and Hancock 2005).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 10.5
Movement patterns: Full Migrant
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Ardea goliath. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22697017A40294781. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided