Boat-billed heron

Cochlearius cochlearius

With a scoop-like bill that gives it its name, this South American species also has large eyes that help it to detect prey in the dark, as it's a nocturnal bird that rests in groups during the day in the trees of mangrove swamps and hunts alone at night, feeding on crustaceans, fish, frogs and insects at the water's edge.

Natural habit

South America

Boat-billed heron
  • Distribution / Resident
  • Breeding
  • Wintering
  • Subspecies

Risk level

  • Extint
  • Extint in the wild
  • Critically endangered
  • In Danger
  • Vulnerable
  • Near threatened
  • Minor concern
  • Insufficient data
  • Not evaluated
Preocupació menor

Taxonomy

Class
Aves
Order
Ciconiiformes
Family
Ardeidae

Physical characteristics

500-600 g
Birth Weight:
50-60 cm
More than 10 years

Biology

Habitat
Wetlands
Social life
Gregarious
Feeding
Piscivorous

Reproduction

Gestation
21-30
Days
Baby
2

Discover how they are

Biology

Description

The massive broad scoop-like bill gives rise to this South-American species' name. It also has big eyes that help it detect preys at night, for it is a nocturnal species that rests during the day in numerous groups, in mangrove trees. Its wings are grey, its chest and face white, and part of its upper back and its crown are black. The lower underparts are rufous.

Habitat

It inhabits mangrove trees and wet areas of fresh water, in essentially tropical environments.

Feeding

At night it feeds alone, on crustaceans, fish, frogs and insects nearby water.

Reproduction

It coordinates reproduction with the rainy season. It builds nests in colonies, with small twigs and lays two, sometimes three or four, sky blue eggs with small reddish spots, that are brooded for 23 to 28 days by both sexes.

Conduct

It is basically sedentary, although some animals can travel short distances, mainly during the dry season, due to the lack of water in some of the wet areas it inhabits.

Status and conservation programs

Due to its wide distribution area, from Mexico to Argentina, and to the remoteness of many of its habitats -mangrove trees and water areas in dense rainforests- it is a common species in many regions. However, the deforestation of its habitat has caused its disappearance in many other areas.