Other names: Gray heron, heron
Latin name: Ardeidae
size: 30 - 140cm (depending on the species)
mass: 80g - 4000g (depending on species)
Older: up to 25 years
Appearance: u.a. white, black and brown plumage possible
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: mainly fish-eater (piscivor)
food: Fish, frogs, crabs, insects, small waterfowl
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: day or night active
habitat: near standing or running waters
natural enemiesBirds of prey (hawk and sparrowhawk) and predatory mammals (such as martens and foxes) are particularly dangerous to juveniles
sexual maturity: from the second year of life
mating season: March - June
breeding season: 14 - 28 days
clutch size: 2 - 5 eggs
social behavior: colony forming
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting about the heron
- The herons, or Ardeidae, describe a family of more than sixty-species throughout the world.
- Herons are distributed around the world with the exception of polar areas and some oceanic islands, with most species living in Asia, Africa, America and Australia.
- They inhabit flat regions and are extremely rare in mountainous areas, with the exception of the night heron living in the Andes. They always stay in close proximity to waters where they find their food.
- Herons are found in rivers, lakes and swamps, as well as in mangrove forests and coastal areas. However, they also like to visit public parks and gardens in search of food.
- All egrets share a long, dagger-shaped beak, long legs and a slender long neck.
- Depending on the species, the heron's plumage may appear white, black, blue, brown or in various shades of gray. Beak and legs are mostly brown, black or yellow.
- The goliath reindeer reaches a height of up to 140 centimeters. The dwarf drums are with a maximum height of 30 centimeters as the smallest representatives of the heron.
- In Europe, the common gray heron or Ardea cinerea is the largest bird after the stork. He lives depending on the area of distribution as Kurzstreckenzieher or Standvogel and is about one meter tall.
- Among the herons there are nocturnal and nocturnal species as well as those that go foraging both during the day and in the dark.
- Depending on their range, herons capture various fish and amphibians, small waterfowl and their chicks as well as insects, small mammals and crustaceans.
- The heron grabs his victims lightning fast with his long beak. Many species living in hot regions spread their wings to lure prey with the underlying shade. Also a sophisticated hunting technique with baits was observed with herons.
- Depending on the species, the eggs are incubated for between two and four weeks.
- The gray heron broods in colonies between March and June, which can cover up to a hundred breeding pairs.
- As the chicks hatch one after the other, the younger ones are at a disadvantage and often die from being starved to death or injured by the older siblings with beaks and pushed out of the nest.
- Many young birds fall prey and birds of prey to the victim.
- Life expectancy varies from species to species. Gray herons can live up to 25 years.