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Gray Heron

Ardea cinerea

Also known as hern, the gray heron lives in mild climates of Europe, Asia and southern Africa. 

Read below and find more information.

Details

The gray heron is a sedentary species in regions with mild climate, but in cold regions where water freezes in winter, it turns into a migratory bird. The gray heron prefers pond regions, surrounded with vegetation. It is the largest species of herons in our country.

Features

  • Length: approximately 95 cm.

  • Wingspan: about 170-200 cm.

  • Weight: 1600-2000 grams.

  • Plumage: the head is white with a black bow at the adults, the neck and back are gray with white stripes and the eyes are surrounded by a black ring. White head and neck contrasts contrasts with gray wings.

  • Beak and legs are long, yellowish.

  • Smooth flight, gliding with rare wings’ beats wings and characteristic sounds.

  • It lives in noisy colonies, mixed with other herons, cormorants and pelicans.

  • It hunts aquatic animals lurking from swamps, waiting motionless and it pierces the prey with its sharp beaks.

  • Food: frogs, small fishes, snakes, mollusks, aquatic insects. On land, the gray heron waits motionless near a mouse hole or steals eggs from birds' nests.

  • Lives in noisy colonies.

Behavior

Did you know...

  • The colonies of gray herons are always hectic and noisy because the crows steal eggs from their nests?

  • A gray heron consume about 500 grams of fish daily?

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