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Herons & the Awesome Blue HeronPicture Blue Heron
Herons are tall wading birds with long legs, neck and bills.
Most feed on aquatic animals in shallow waters, some eat insects
and small rodents.
Included among the herons are several groups of birds more
commonly known as bitterns, boatbills, and egrets.
Cranes, which somewhat resemble the larger herons, fly with their
necks extended; herons fly with their necks bent in an S shape, with
their heads supported between their shoulders.
Herons have four long-clawed toes on each foot, three of which
are directed forward, and the fourth, backward. The claw on the
middle of the forward toes has a rough, comb like inner margin that is
used by the heron in preening its soft plumage.
During the breeding season many herons wear elongated plumes,
variously on the head, back, or breast. The birds mate and
nest in large groups known as heronries.
Most species construct their loose, flat, platform-style nests high
in the branches of swamp trees. Notable exceptions are the bitterns,
which are solitary rather than colonial and place their nests
among reeds on the ground.
Two to six pale blue eggs are laid in a clutch.
The Great Blue Heron
The great blue heron is widely distributed in North America and winters
as far south as northern South America.
This bird is about about 46 inches long and has a wingspan of about 6 feet.
Above, it is bluish gray; the belly is black. Its head is white, with a black
stripe along the sides of the crown; in the breeding season this stripe
extends to elongated black plumes.
The neck is gray, with a central line of black spots down the front edge.
The bill is dull yellowish and the legs and feet are blackish. An
all-white, egret like color phase called the great white heron
occurs in Florida and the Caribbean.
The great blue heron builds it's nest high up in trees or cliffs near water
out of sticks.
It lays 3 to 4 pale bluish green to dull blue eggs that are unmarked.
Herons feed mainly on fish and crustaceans, some frogs and mice.
Herons belong to the family Ardeidae of the order Ciconiiformes.
Types of North American Herons Include:
Black Crowned Night Heron
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Yellow Crowned Night Heron
White Faced Ibis
North American Birds
Charming Stuffed Plush Birds
Really Cool Heron and Blue