Heron Facts

Heron Facts
Heron is a bird that can be easily confused with a stork, due to similarities in appearance. There are 64 different species of herons that differ in size, color and type of habitat. Herons can be found on each continent except on Antarctica. These birds prefer wetlands, swamps, coastlines and areas near rivers, ponds and lakes. Pollution of the water with heavy metals and chemicals and habitat destruction are the main factors that decrease number of herons in the wild. At the moment, world population of herons is stable and they are not on the list of endangered animals.
Interesting Heron Facts:
Heron's size depends on the species. They can reach between 34 and 55 inches in length and weigh between 3.3 and 6.6 pounds.
Herons have huge wingspan, usually two times bigger than their body size. Wingspan of herons can reach 5.5 to 6.6 feet.
Herons can be easily recognized by their long, S-shaped neck, dagger-like bill and long legs.
Color of the plumage can be grey, white, brown or black, depending on the species.
Herons are carnivores. They mainly eat fish, but their diet also includes frogs, small mammals and birds, reptiles and insects.
Herons hunt by quickly straightening their S-shaped neck toward the victim. Fish and other prey will be stabbed with sharp bill and swallowed in one piece. Heron can die out of suffocation if it tries to swallow some really big prey.
Herons are excellent flyers that can reach the speed of 30 miles per hour. During the flight, their neck is curled in S-shape, while legs dangle behind the body.
Herons are active both during the day and night. Specially designed eyes allow them to see equally good at night and day.
Main predators of herons are minks, foxes and raccoons. They hunt and kill young birds and steal eggs from the nest.
Species of herons that live in temperate regions are migratory. They will travel to the south once per year to avoid harsh winter temperature and lack of food.
Herons nest in colonies that can include up to 500 nests per territory. A single tree can sometimes host 10 nests.
Herons usually build their nest on the trees and on the cliffs, high above the ground to avoid stealing of eggs by predators. Both males and females build the nest using twigs, leaves, moss and other plant material. Nest preparation may last from few days to few weeks.
Herons choose new partner for mating each year. Both parents take care of their chicks.
Female usually lays 4 eggs. They will hatch after incubation period of one month. Young chicks are able for independent life after 49 to 81 days.
Herons can survive 15 years in the wild and 25 years in captivity.

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