Protecting threatened Over-seas biodiversity

Madagascar Pond Heron


Species factsheet

  • LIFE area: Mayotte
  • Scientific name: Ardeola idae
  • Status: Breeds only on Mayotte, Madagascar, Aldabra et Europa
  • Conservation status (IUCN): Endangered (EN)
  • Diet: Fish, insects, reptiles, amphibiens
  • Behaviour: Shy
  • Hábitat: Wetlands
  • State of the population: 182 pairs (2018) (Mayotte)

Our aims

Innovative deratification techniques
48 ha of invasive alien species control
228 ha of management measures
150 additional young
10 consultative working groups


Habitat distruction:

There are numerous potential conflicts at feeding and breeding sites such as illegal building and crop planting which alter the species’ habitat and contribute to the disturbance of this very shy species.


Eggs and young of the Madagascar Pond-heron are regularly harvested despite their having legislative protection.

Invasive alien species:

Despite the absence of research showing that rats predate either eggs or chicks, it seems highly likely that this happens as rats are known to occur in the mangroves.

Les actions

  • Predator control:

    After measuring the impact of rats on broods, an innovative protocol of rat control in mangroves will be initiated and evaluated each month.
  • Protection measures and legislation:

    Several protection and development measures (both local “APB”, “ENS” and international RAMSAR) will be proposed for the species’ feeding and breeding sites in order that these sites are appreciated and have legal protection. Measures such as Agri-environment-climate Measures (AECM) will be proposed for sites where the Madagascar Pond-heron feeds in order to maintain human use of areas near to these sites whilst incorporating the species’ conservation.
  • Concrete conservation measures:

    Building of a tower hide, erecting fencing and setting up of surveillance patrols to discourage poaching and habitat destruction.
  • Site restoration:

    Restoration of certain wet meadows in order to improve some of the species’ feeding sites

The expert

Rivo Rabarisoa

Coordinator of the wetlands programme within Asity Madagascar

What do the people of Mayotte think of the Madagascar Pond-heron?

Habitats used by the species are those most prized and exploited by local people, which has made things difficult from the start. However, in the long term, following a programme of information and awareness and putting in place development alternatives; local people have gradually come to understand the value of these birds and the sustainable management of wetlands. Involving local people in our programme has allowed us to know of other breeding sites.

How has the species fared since you’ve been recording it? What figures do you have today?  

A census made by colleagues in Madagascar and neighbouring islands (Seychelles, Mauritius …) has shown that there is an overall tendency of decline. Today the total population is thought to be 800 pairs.

What are the main threats and the reason for its decline?

The main threat is habitat destruction at breeding sites, the destruction and even the total disappearance of feeding sites, the collecting of eggs and young at certain breeding sites, disturbance at nesting sites which may cause the site to be abandoned, or even threats from natural causes and probably also climate change.

What do you want from the LIFE BIODIV’OM program concerning the conservation of this species?

I hope that deciders and local people become totally aware of the importance of this species, that breeding sites are identified and located and protected as a result. I also hope that wetlands will be protected from further development.