Fun Lava Heron Facts For Kidsprawns | Kidadl


Fun Lava Heron Facts For Kidsprawns

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The lava heron, Butorides sundevalli, is a species of heron indigenous to the Islands of Galapagos. Some reputed organizations, such as Birdlife International and American Ornithological Society, consider the Galapagos heron as a subspecies of striated heron and the green heron. The Galapagos herons inhabit foreshores and Mangrove groves. This bird has been the main attraction to tourists who visit the Islands of Ecuador. The lava heron has a small head with a gray body which permits it to become camouflage against the environment, especially lava rocks. It is a non-migratory bird, but occasionally during harsh weather, they migrate locally. Their breeding season can occur the whole year, but mostly during the monsoon.

The lava herons can produce different types of sounds. For instance, they emit loud alarm sounds to frighten off predators. They are predators of crabs, lizards, and fish. But, they do not have natural predators, but they are in continuous threat from invasive species. They move slowly and stab at their prey with the help of their pointed beaks. They do not involve in parasitic or mutualistic relationships, though they appear to perform commensalism with penguins and lions of the same Islands. The female lava heron can lay up to 10 eggs in a year in her nest.

Birds have unique features from other animals, and it is interesting to learn about them. To know more about birds, you can also check out swallow-tailed kite facts and ovenbird facts.

Fun Lava Heron Facts For Kidsprawns

What do they prey on?

Insects, Crabs, Fish, Flies

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

Up to 10 eggs

How much do they weigh?

6.7-8.4 oz (190-240 g)

How long are they?

13.78 in (35 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Gray, Black, White

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Invasive Species

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Mangrove Forests, Saltwater Lagoons, Lava-rock Coastlines


Galapagos Islands









Lava Heron Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a lava heron?

The lava heron Galapagos birds are a type of seabird.

What class of animal does a lava heron belong to?

The lava heron is believed to be a subspecies of striated heron, and it belongs to the class Aves (birds).

How many lava herons are there in the world?

The total number of Galapagos herons present in the world is unknown.

Where does a lava heron live?

The lava heron (Butorides sundevalli) lives in intertidal zones (seashore), saltwater lagoons, and mangrove swamps on the Galapagos Islands since they forage for fishes. They highly prefer the environment of tropical forests and make their nest on the mangrove trees in the Islands of Galapagos province. They live in nests built on the lower ground or above the trees. The lava heron range map can be observed mostly across the islands.

What is a lava heron's habitat?

They are a close relative of the great blue heron that thrives exclusively on the Galapagos Islands. This bird species has territories along the coastline of the islands. However, the area can change over time. The size of an area or territory can generally depend on the amount of food available. Both the male and female have their own territory. Wetland or waters, mangrove groves, and lava rocks are the preferred habitats for the lava heron. Galapagos Islands is one such region that is suitable for their settlement.

Who do lava herons live with?

The Galapagos Islands lava herons are known to be solitary and territorial birds that spend most of their time sitting and leave only during the breeding season. They rarely live or stay in groups, but they may be seen foraging food in groups.

How long does a lava heron live?

In the wild, the lifespan of a lava heron, Butorides sundevalli, is roughly nine years. The information regarding the longevity of this bird in captivity is not available.

How do they reproduce?

The Galapagos lava herons are monogamous birds that breed throughout the year but mainly after heavy rainfall season and in the months between September and March. Courtship displays in Galapagos herons involve circle flights and pursuit flights by males. They also try to attract females with their calls. When a female reaches the male, the male bows to her and coos. Females also bow to their mates or partners. They poke each other with their bills and also groom their body parts. Before copulation, the pairs or parents together build a nest with twigs of trees. The nests are shallow cups of nearly 7.8-15.7 in (20-40 cm) in diameter. During the nesting season, both the sexes try to maintain and try to brush up the nest. The nesting season can be mostly seen during the breeding season. The nests are built in the area of the male within 3.2 ft (1 m) of the earth's surface in Mangrove trees, bushes, or under lava rocks. The female lays two to three eggs at one time. Both parents incubate the eggs for 21 to 22 days and feed the offspring through their beaks. The juveniles normally fledge within four to eight weeks.

What is their conservation status?

The Galapagos lava heron Butorides sundevalli is a common species of bird on the Islands of Galapagos. However, the population size of this bird is unknown. On the IUCN red list, they have been listed as of Least Concern.

Lava Heron Fun Facts

What do lava herons look like?

Lava Heron

The lava herons are slate-gray or ashy-gray birds, which help them to camouflage in the lava rocks. Male herons are larger and brighter than the female, especially during the breeding season. However, both genders have a silvery sheen on the back wings and a tiny crest on the head. They have pale yellow to pale orange and black spot eyes. The color of the bill is gray, which is also more illuminating in the males during the mating season. Normally, the color of the legs is also gray, but during breeding and nesting season, they turn bright orange and their beak changes from green to brilliant blue. However, they have dark black beaks, matching the color of their legs. The young ones are brown, with breast streaking, a dark crown, and a grayish back. The lava heron with lava ashes coloration on its feathers is unique from other species.

How cute are they?

The black lava heron species of the Galapagos Islands look cute with their beautiful gray-colored plumage on their entire body and orange-colored to dark legs. Their eyes are calm and soft to look at. They also do not fear human beings and have very pleasant behavior when approached.

How do they communicate?

The Galapagos lava heron emits sharp alarm calls. Although, they are quite specific and less vocal. When lava herons are anxious or annoyed, they give off a high-pitched 'keyow' or 'keuk.' They also produce a scratchy sound to petrify their predators. During the breeding season, males emit 'skow' calls to attract females to mate.

How big is a lava heron?

A Galapagos lava heron length is 13.78 in (35 cm), and they are similar to kestrel birds.

How fast can a lava heron fly?

The lava heron prefers to walk than fly. However, when flying, the flight is low, diminutive, and direct. The flying speed of the Galapagos heron is unknown.

How much does a lava heron weigh?

It is not known how much they weigh.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names of male and female Galapagos herons.

What would you call a baby lava heron?

The Galapagos heron baby lacks any special name. Like most bird babies, it is usually known as offspring or young ones.

What do they eat?

The Galapagos lava herons primarily feed on small fish and crabs but also eat lizards, prawns, crabs, and insects, like flies. These Galapagos herons forage on land for food or dive in the water for fish. They walk slowly in water, in branches, on lava rocks, or near the coastline of Galapagos Island.

Are they poisonous?

No, lava herons of the Galapagos Islands are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Galapagos herons are best known for their unique and beautiful plumage. Also, they do not have any fear of humans. Therefore, they would definitely make a nice pet.

Did you know...

These birds can eat two to three crabs per minute.

They are highly territorial and also found in intertidal zones and equator in the Pacific ocean too.

When the lava heron sits or perches on branches, its head stays inward between its shoulders, making it almost seem headless!

Are lava herons endangered?

No, Galapagos lava herons are not on the list of endangered species, but there are many threats to lava heron species. Some of them include predators, humans, and animals such as rats, cats, and pigs. As Galapagos herons are not endangered species, there is no specific plan for the protection of these herons.

Why are lava herons also called Galápagos herons?

The lava herons are endemic to the Islands of Galapagos. Therefore, they have been named Galapagos lava herons. They have the special ability to hide in the volcanic rocks of the Islands because of their gray color.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including blue-winged teal facts and hyacinth macaw facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Lava heron coloring pages.

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