BLAGDON LAKE BIRDS

Squacco Heron



Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides [Scopoli, 1769]

(Extremely rare vagrant SV)

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides, Burmah Road © Nigel Milbourne, 2012

  1. One, adult, 6th-17th May 2012 (S. & S. Mackie, N.R. Milbourne et al.).

A Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides was found at Chew Valley Lake on 2nd May, but proved fairly elusive for the next few days. Then, Steve and Sue Mackie drove up to me while I was checking bat boxes at Blagdon with Daniel Hargreaves on 6th May and told me they'd found what they thought was the Squacco Heron from Chew. Sue showed me an excellent picture taken from the car at Burmah Road which I was able to confirm as being the Squacco. It showed extremely well all afternoon to local birders at Burmah Road and, presumably, returned to Chew to roost that evening. After spending some of the following morning at Moreton Bank, Chew Valley Lake (pers. comm. Richard Mielcarek), it flew back to Blagdon where I relocated it at Top End. While watching it during the afternoon we started discussing the meaning of the word squacco but no-one was able to offer an explanation. So, here is the etymology from Wikipedia: "The English common name Squacco comes via Francis Willughby (circa 1672) quoting a local Italian name Sguacco. The current spelling comes John Hill in 1752 [sic]. The scientific name comes from Latin ardeola, little heron, and ralloides, Latin rallus, rail and Greek -oides, resembling." I have also read that Scopoli, the Italian Ornithologist, named the bird after the phonetic local dialect for the birds call.

Bibliography (sources of information)

  1. Wikipedia website
  2. Rose, Dr H.E. (ed.) Avon Bird Report, 2012. Avon Ornithological Group.

Updated 27 December, 2012