Squacco Heron

Rallenreiher ( ardeola ralloides )

The Rallenreiher ( ardeola ralloides ) is an Old World Schreitvogel of the heron family. In Central Europe the Rallenreiher is only in Hungary, a breeding bird, and with greatly fluctuating stock in Slovakia.


The 40 to 49 cm long Rallenreiher achieved with a wingspan of 71-80 cm, a weight of 250 to 300 g at the bottom of the plumage of the bird dickhalsigen appears inconspicuously colored ocher -yellow- brownish. In flight it shows the distinctive white wings and white tail. In Plain dress, the Rallenreiher at the top and sides of the neck a distinct penciling, a dull ocher- brown coat and green yellowish legs and beak, the latter with darker tip. In breeding plumage, the bird longer neck feathers, a flaxen yellow, almost unstriped neck, an ocher brown coat with light violet sealed Always, coral legs and a green-blue bill with black tip. The young bird is darker in color with a stronger penciling.


The Rallenreiher breeds in freshwater marshes and wetlands with reeds and waterside plants locally in the Mediterranean region, as well as in Southwest Asia, Morocco and the Ethiopian region. In September and October, he moved to Africa, isolated over wintering specimens also in the southern Mediterranean. While retreating in the breeding areas in April and May, some animals continue to travel in a northerly direction until in the North Sea Region. ( See: Zugprolongation ) How can Rallenreiher be observed until late in the summer in Central Europe. However, regular breeds are known only from Hungary.


The crepuscular Rallenreiher hunts in thick bushes or in the reeds by aquatic insects, frogs and small fish. The bird lives outside the breeding season, solitary or in small groups and defends its feeding territory against conspecifics.


The Rallenreiher breeds once a year, from April to June in colonies, together with other species of herons, glossy ibis and Pygmy Cormorants. In Madagascar, the Thick-billed heron and the Rallenreiher jointly formed large breeding colonies. The nests of the Rail heron were generally below those of the Thick-billed heron. This large colonies, however, are very rare, since the holdings of the Thick-billed heron are slumped.

The nest of grass and reeds will be hidden in the reeds or built in a semi- tall trees. Both parents incubate the birds four to six eggs and feed the young birds fledge at 45 days.

Hazardous situation

The World Conservation Union IUCN provides the Rallenreiher in the Red List of Threatened Species. Although the stock appears to be falling, are the overall very extensive inventory at a low acceptance trend and the huge range of a poorer classification as opposed not threatened (Least Concern ).

The total European population is estimated at 18000-27000 breeding pairs. The largest populations are found in Romania ( 5500-6500 breeding pairs ), Turkey ( 4,000 to 6,000 breeding pairs ), Azerbaijan ( 2,500 to 5,000 breeding pairs ) and Russia ( 1,500 to 2,000 breeding pairs ). In Hungary brood 300-410 breeding pairs. Probably bred Rallenreiher until about 1860 in the Netherlands. The danger of this kind is mainly due to the destruction of wetlands. The main factor is a loss of reed-beds and destruction of floating plants companies and the waters adjacent to old-growth forest. For continued decline of the species may be similar to the little bittern, the prolonged drought contribute in the Sahel, which contributes to the chances of survival in the resting and wintering areas.