Cocoi Heron (Ardea cocoi)

Cocoi Heron

[order] CICONIIFORMES | [family] Ardeidae | [latin] Ardea cocoi | [authority] Linnaeus, 1766 | [UK] Cocoi Heron | [FR] Heron cocoi | [DE] Cocoireiher | [ES] Garza Cuca | [NL] Sokoi-reiger


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Ardea cocoi SA widespread


Best known of the typical herons are the very large, long-legged and long-necked, plain-hued, crested members of the genus Ardea The species of the Ardeidae (heron) family are mainly tropical birds, but they have spread out all over the world and occupy all but extremely high latitudes and elevation. Most members of this almost worldwide group breed colonially in trees, building large stick nests. Northern species such as Great Blue, Grey and Purple Herons may migrate south in winter, although the first two do so only from areas where the waters freeze. These are powerful birds with large spear-like bills, long necks and long legs, which hunt by waiting motionless or stalking their prey in shallow water before seizing it with a sudden lunge. They have a slow steady flight, with the neck retracted as is characteristic of herons and bitterns; this distinguishes them from storks, cranes, and spoonbills, which extend their necks

Physical charateristics

Plumage grey to bluish grey with whitish head and neck. Black crown and nape, black chest and white belly. Black primaries and secondaries with a yellowish and pointed bill.

Listen to the sound of Cocoi Heron

[audio: Heron.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 120 cm size max.: 130 cm
incubation min.: 24 days incubation max.: 26 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 26 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


South America : widespread


These large herons are found in lakes, rivers, estuaries, mangroves and wetlands.


It is solitary and shy, except during mating season, when it usually breeds in colonies. Nests in trees, making a nest with dry sticks. Cluths have 2 to 4 sky blue eggs

Feeding habits

feeds on fish, crab, mollusks, small frogs and reptiles.

Video Cocoi Heron


copyright: K. Blomerley


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
This bird is a solitary, quiet and cautious species, stalks in shallow water or remains still, watching patiently for prey.
Cocoi Heron status Least Concern


Generally sedentary, though birds in extreme South of range probably migrate North during winter. Also some post-breeding dispersal. Occasionally reaches Strait of Magellan and Lake Kami in far South. Non-breeding visitor to Trinidad mainly Jan-Jun. Accidental to Falklands and Gough Island. Usually sedentary bird in Suriname, some post breeding dispersal.

Distribution map

Cocoi Heron distribution range map

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