Herons of Keta Lagoon

Birds of The Keta Lagoon

The Keta Lagoon is the largest lagoon in Ghana with a surface area of 300km² approximately. The lagoon and its immediate environment comprising an area of 1200km² has been established as a protected wetland area also known as a Ramsar site. It has tiny islands that are sites of special attraction for bird watchers and tourists. The area is habitat for a number of species of wetland birds including herons and kingfishers, birds of the Keta Lagoon. Keta Lagoon is located close to the south-eastern corner of Ghana, in the Volta Region.

Great White Heron Keta Lagoon
© George AgboKlu

Great White Heron

The great white heron inhabits all kinds of inland and coastal wetlands, but it is mainly found along the coast. Its habitat includes coastal swamps, lagoons, estuaries, saltmarshes, river margins, lakes shores, flood-plains, rice-fields, drainage ditches, aquaculture ponds, and mangroves. The species typically breeds in colonies of tens, hundreds or even a thousand pairs, and sometimes with other species. Some populations also show a tendency to breed solitarily or in small groups.

The great white heron’s diet consists of fish, amphibians, snakes, aquatic insects and crustaceans in wetlands, although in drier habitats it feeds on terrestrial insects, lizards, small birds and mammals.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) estimates that the species is threatened by wetland habitat degradation and loss.

Pied Kingfisher Keta Lagoon
© George AgboKlu

Pied Kingfisher

The pied kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) is a wetland bird that has black and white plumage. Its known habitats include small and large lakes, large rivers, estuaries, coastal lagoons, dams and reservoirs with either fresh or brackish water. It breeds in pairs or in family groups consisting of primary helpers and/or secondary helpers. It can be colonial or solitary.

The pied kingfisher feeds mainly on fish, possibly supplemented by aquatic insects, and frogs, tadpoles and molluscs. It hunts from perches, diving into the water to catch prey. It also regularly hovers before plunging down to take prey in water.

The IUCN estimates that one of the threats to the pied kingfisher globally is the risk of poisoning through bio-accumulation of pollution and toxins in the fish they prey on.

Pied Kingfisher on Keta Lagoon
© George AgboKlu

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