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Lava heron

Lava heron in Galapagos
© Peter Cooper

Common name:

Lava heron

Scientific name:

Butorides sundevalli

Spanish name:

Garza de lava

Conservation status:

Least Concern


Average size:

35 centimetres / 63 centimetres wingspan

Average weight:

2.1 kilograms


The lava heron, also known as the Galapagos heron, is a wading bird, endemic to the Galapagos Islands. These small herons live and nest along the lava rock coastlines, saltwater lagoons, and mangrove forests. They appear to be common on the Galapagos Islands, but population sizes are currently unknown. 

They are a uniform grey colour, which acts as camouflage against the grey basalt rocks on which they dwell. They have a short crest on top of their head, and the male birds are slightly larger in size than the females. During the breeding season their legs change from a dull grey to a bright orange, and the bill of the male turns from grey to black. The plumage of the juvenile lava heron is brown and streaky.

Lava herons in Galapagos

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