The Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) is a wetlands bird in the Ardeidae family of herons.
The Squacco Heron is short and stocky, almost without a neck. It has a buff-brown body with a white underbelly and wings. In summer, it grows long neck feathers. It has a short, thick, greyish beak.
It grows to about 47 centimetres (18 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 80-92 centimetres (31-36 inches).
It is found in southern Europe and the Greater Middle East. It is a migratory bird, flying south to Africa in winter.
It prefers wetlands, near streams, rivers, creeks, and bodies of water.
The Squacco Heron feeds on fish, frogs, toads, and insects.
It nests in small colonies. It makes a nest of sticks on a platform in a tree or shrub. The female lays 3-4 eggs.
Location of photographs: Parc Zoologique de Paris in Bois de Vincennes, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM