oa South African Journal of Wildlife Research - 24-month delayed open access - Distribution and numbers of breeding cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae) and herons (Ardeidae) in Lesotho : short communication - : short communication

Volume 44, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2410-7220
  • E-ISSN: 2410-8200



Owing to a scarcity of larger natural wetlands, waterbirds are, in general, uncommon in Lesotho (Osborne & Tigar 1990; Bonde 1992; Hockey et al. 2005). Besides Anseriformes, the most characteristic species in this group are represented by Ciconiiformes and Pelecaniformes. In Lesotho, Reed Cormorant (), White-breasted Cormorant (), Cattle Egret (), Black-headed Heron (), Purple Heron () and Black-crowned Night Heron () have been recorded breeding (Osborne & Tigar 1990; Bonde 1992). Other members of Ciconiifomes, such as the Hamerkop (), Black Stork () and Southern Bald Ibis () are not regarded as waterbirds, but do breed in Lesotho (Osborne & Tigar 1990; Bonde 1992).

From a conservation perspective, it is important and relatively easy to survey colonially breeding waterbirds, herons and cormorants. Since these colonies are occupied annually, their status can be monitored on a regular basis (Sutherland 1996, 2000). However, only the distribution and abundance of the Cattle Egret has been thoroughly investigated in Lesotho (Kopij 2008). The purpose of this study was to determine the status and distribution of all other herons and cormorants breeding in Lesotho.

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