Standing at 1.43 m, weighing about 4 kgs and with a wingspan of around 2 m, the Goliath heron is the world’s largest heron.
Goliath Heron has slate-grey plumage, with chestnut feathers. Head and crest, face, back and sides of the neck are deep chestnut. Chin and throat are white. Foreneck and upper breast are white streaked black. Feathers at base of the neck are long and blue-grey. Thighs, belly and lower breast are dark buff, slightly streaked with black.
Head brings a brushy chestnut crest. Lores and eye ring area are yellowish-green. Long, strong, pointed bill has black upper mandible and horn below. Eyes are yellow and the legs and feet are black.
Both sexes are similar. Juveniles are duller than adults.
Goliath Heron are passive hunters. They may stand motionlessly about an hour, adopting tall posture for better visual appreciation. Goliath Heron feed on fishes, crustaceans, amphibians and snakes. Typically, this heron walks slowly in deeper water than other herons, or it stands in shallow waters on floating vegetation, searching in the water at its feet for prey. When a large fish of 2 – 3 kgs appears, the heron spears it with an open beak in the gill area, then it carries the fish to the shore to eat it quietly. All prey are swallowed whole.