Interesting facts about herons

Posted on Mar 12, 2022      95

Long-legged egrets, known for their original habits, are extremely curious birds, and it is very interesting to observe them. Their different species are widespread in many countries around the world, and in many cultures, waders are given special attention. Folk legends endow them with wisdom and a sharp mind, which, in general, is near to the truth - these birds are not stupid at all.

Facts about herons

  • There are 64 species of these birds in the world.
  • When a pair of herons builds a nest, the female builds it, but it is the male who looks for and brings the materials suitable for construction.
  • The heron’s unique feathers don’t get wet because her down, growing to its maximum length, crumbles into powder. This powder covers the entire plumage of the bird, and it does not let water through.
  • When flying, herons do not pull their heads forward, as almost all other birds do, but pull their necks into their bodies.
  • The closest relatives of herons in terms of zoology are waders, bitterns and storks.
  • Herons prefer to live in shallow water, most often - in marshes, rivers and lakes.

  • These birds are skilled predators. Most of them feed on frogs and other small amphibians, but some also prey on rodents and even other birds.
  • Heron eggs are notable for their shape - they are pointed at both ends rather than one end, like chicken eggs.
  • Standing on one leg and propped up by the other, the heron can remain motionless for hours. When her leg gets tired, she simply exchanges it for the other leg.
  • The habit of standing on one leg has developed in herons because the water in the areas where these birds live is usually quite cold. Thus, while one leg is working, the other is warming up.
  • During the year, an adult female heron can lie up to 5-7 eggs.
  • On average, these birds live 12-15 years, but the official record is as long as 25 years.
  • Herons can be found on all continents except Antarctica.
  • The largest species are up to 1.5 meters tall. The smallest are about three times shorter.
  • During migration, herons travel thousands of kilometers, and in flight rise to a height of up to 2,000 meters.
  • Eating fish, the heron swallows it headfirst so as not to injure her esophagus.
  • Herons can create shade by luring fish. To increase the area of shade, they spread their wings and fold them in a dome with their head down. Such a method allows not only to attract more potential prey but also to choose the best one, because this improvised umbrella of wings saves the bird’s eyes from the blinding water glare.
  • Male herons do not differ in appearance from females. They even distinguish the sex of their congeners themselves only by behavior.

  • Usually these birds stay away from people, but Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, has been home to a vast population of herons for many years. Why they settled there is unknown, but apparently they are doing fine there.
  • They prefer to walk on the ground rather than fly short distances. And their steps are wide, up to half a meter.
  • Usually, herons are quite taciturn, but during the breeding season, they make a lot of loud sounds. By the way, quite unpleasant for the human ear.
  • In most cases, herons pair up for just one year, but in rare cases, the birds stay together for several years.
  • In winter, herons usually prefer salt water bodies, and in summer - fresh water bodies.
  • Scientists know about 35 fossil species of these birds, as well as over 20 of the extinct in the last few centuries.

Teg:   heron  bird