The grey heron is a long-legged wading bird of the heron family, Ardeidae, found in temperate Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. It is a resident in much of its range, but some populations from the far north migrate south in the fall.
Grey herons are serially monogamous, which means they form pairs and stay together for only one breeding season, which lasts from early February to May or early June. These birds breed in heronries, which are usually high trees near lakes, the seashore, or other wetlands. Females lay 3 to 5 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 25-26 days. For the first 20 days, one of the adult birds stays at the nest. The young can fly after about 50 days, and they stay at the nest for another 10 to 20 days.
Grey herons are widespread and abundant, with an estimated global population of 790,000 to 3,700,000 adults, including 223,000-391,000 breeding pairs in Europe, c.100-10,000 breeding pairs in Korea, c.100, 000-1 million breeding pairs in China, c.100,000-1 million breeding pairs in Russia and c.100,000-1 million breeding pairs in Japan. The total population appears to be stable.
Scientific name: Ardea cinerea
Wingspan: 1.6 – 2 m
What is the difference between a blue heron and a grey heron?
The great blue heron and the grey heron are closely related. The grey heron has similar plumage to the great blue heron, but it has a grey neck and lacks the brown flanks of the great blue heron. Gray herons are also smaller birds, weighing between 1.02 and 2.08 kg.
What's the distinction between a crane and a heron?
Herons curve their necks into a "S" shape and pull them completely back when flying, whereas cranes' necks stick straight out. Cranes' beaks are also shorter than herons'.
How do you recognise a heron?
The largest heron in North America, with long legs, a sinuous neck, and a thick, daggerlike bill. The plumes on the head, chest, and wings are shaggy. The Great Blue Heron's neck curls into a tight "S" shape in flight; its wings are broad and rounded, and its legs trail well beyond the tail.
How far can a heron fly?
Flight distances varied from 13 to 166 yards, indicating a high degree of variability.
What do grey herons consume?
Lots of fish, but there are also small birds such as ducklings, small mammals such as voles, and amphibians. Grey herons can sometimes be seen in fields after harvesting, looking for rodents.
What do herons primarily eat?
Herons are carnivores, which means they eat fish, small mammals, insects, crustaceans, and reptiles. Fish, frogs, small mammals, crustaceans, reptiles, and even other birds are eaten by herons! Herons eat mostly other animals, despite the fact that they are not considered carnivores.
Do herons consume snakes?
Great blue herons primarily consume fish, but they will also consume birds, rodents, small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. A great blue heron, as one of the birds that eat snakes, will hunt and eat snakes on occasion. To catch a water snake, a heron will stand still and wait for the snake to slither into range.
How does the grey heron sound?
The heron is a rather silent bird, but it does make a harsh 'fraank' or 'kaark' call when in flight. During the breeding season, colonies form in high treetops, with only a few occurrences in reedbeds or on cliff ledges.