White-crested Tiger Heron (Tigriornis leucolopha)

White-crested Tiger Heron

[order] CICONIIFORMES | [family] Ardeidae | [latin] Tigriornis leucolopha | [authority] Jardine, 1846 | [UK] White-crested Tiger Heron | [FR] Onore a huppe blanche | [DE] Weissschopf-Reiher | [ES] Avetigre Africana | [NL] Afrikaanse Tijgerroerdomp


Monotypic species


Tigriornis is a tiger-heron from the Old World. Although Tigriornis differs from other large tiger-herons in some traditionally important morphological characters(e .g. it has two instead of three powderdown patches and a particularly distinct sternum. It is also the only species of Tiger-heron not indigenous to South or Middle America. Tiger-herons are secretive forest dwelling species of the the White-crested Tiger Heron is the only member in the genus Tigriornis. As opposed to the species of the sister taxa Tigrisoma it does not built its nest high up (15 meter) burt rather low (6 meter).

Physical charateristics

Slender looking Bitteren with a white crest that is often covered by other feathers. Female seems to be more dull due to narrow buff barring and less pink-cinnamon below.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 66 cm size max.: 80 cm
incubation min.: 29 days incubation max.: 33 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 2  


Africa : West, Central. Tigriornis leucolopha is uncommon to rare through the African equatorial rainforests, with breeding records from the Gambia, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Gabon and the Congo. It is perhaps commonest in parts of Gabon, lower Congo and northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and has been described as widespread in Ghana.


It shows a preference for small shaded streams, marshes or swamps in dense areas of primary rainforest or swamp-forest. It also occurs along the banks of forested rivers.


The nest may be a platform of twigs placed 6 m high in trees. One nest contained one egg, the incubation period is at least 29 days. Breeding seems to coincide with high water levels.

Feeding habits

Its diet consists of small fish, crustaceans (e.g. crayfish and freshwater crabs), spiders, insects (e.g. winged termites), frogs, snakes and lizards.


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 is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to 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.
The main threat to the species is habitat destruction. The species is hunted and traded at traditional medicine markets in Nigeria.
White-crested Tiger Heron status Least Concern


This species is largely sedentary although there are indications of some migratory movements or vagrancy

Distribution map

White-crested Tiger Heron distribution range map

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