Facts About Herons

Herons are striking in their appearance: they have very long legs, beaks, and gracefully curved necks. They can often be found in swamps all over the world. Let’s look at the most interesting facts about herons.

8 facts about herons

Herons are found almost all over the world

These birds have a huge range and are not found only in Antarctica. Most species prefer to settle in aquatic ecosystems – in swamps, on the banks of rivers, lakes and oceans. Some species do well in salt water.

Herons are one hundred percent predators

Since most species live in marshes, their main prey is water and coastal inhabitants. These include fish, salamanders, crabs, shrimps, frogs, and aquatic insects. Herons, which live in more arid areas, prey on mice, rats, small lizards, snakes and even birds.

Herons are effective hunters

Herons prefer to hunt in shallow water. They have excellent eyesight and are therefore able to hunt both during the day and at night. Some species purposely throw seeds and fruit into the water to attract more fish. The long, curved neck is specially adapted to swiftly attack their prey. During the hunt, the heron pierces its prey with its beak and then tries to swallow it whole. If the fish is too large, the heron may suffocate.

Herons are social birds

Herons prefer to live in colonies. One colony can consist of several heron species and even include other waterfowl. Herons are monogamous. A pair stays together for the entire breeding season.

heron on the moor

Herons are great flyers

Herons can reach speeds of up to 48 kilometers per hour. In flight, a heron’s neck takes a zig-zag shape and its long legs hang freely in the air.

Herons are caring parents

Its interesting facts about herons. They take care of their offspring responsibly. A pair builds a nest high up in a tree so that predators cannot reach it. Males and females carry leaves and branches from the surrounding area. A female may lay four to seven eggs at a time. Most species have white or blue eggs, but there are waders that lay olive-colored eggs. Both females and males take turns incubating.

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Young herons are most vulnerable to predators

The main natural enemies of herons are minks, foxes, and raccoons. They rarely attack adults. Predators prefer to climb into nests for eggs and chicks.

Herons are migratory birds

Most species migrate varying distances. There are only a few species that stay in the same area year-round. Migration to new areas takes place at night. Herons prefer to migrate in small groups.