This small white heron has a long crest, red legs, a blue bill with a red tip and blue bare skin around the eyes. Outside of the breeding season the plumage becomes streaked with brown and the crown becomes completely brown (2).
The breeding range occurs in Madagascar and the Seychelles. In Madagascar the species has a wide range, but it is not common throughout the area and has been declining during the last 50 years. Non-breeding populations occur in east and central Africa (2).
It is thought that the population is declining quickly largely due to over-harvesting of the eggs and young (1). Furthermore the introduced invasive fish Micropterus salmoides may be competing with this heron for food (2).
The Madagascar pond-heron has been classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List (1) and is included in Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) (2). Suggested measures include carrying out surveys on this species to gain a better knowledge of the size of the population. More research is needed on the ecology of the species in order to better understand the threats facing it at present. Important colonies must be protected, and a local public education campaign has been proposed to try to reduce harvesting of the eggs (2).
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