Green Heron

Green Heron
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens)
Pronounced: Ky-ron-ex flek-er-ee Order: Ciconiiformes
Kingdom: Animalia Family: Ardeidae
Phylum: Chordata Genus: Butorides
Class: Aves Species: Virescens

This is one of the smallest herons, although its legs and bill are still longer than many other types of birds. It specializes in fishing by using feathers, sticks, and leaves as bait. It will throw the bait into the water and wait, motionless, for a fish to bite. Then, it will strike with its long bill and swallow the fish whole. It will also occasionally eat frogs, snakes, crustaceans, insects, and rodents.

Its habitat is freshwater wetlands, streams, and ponds with sufficient shoreline vegetation. They migrate from northern inland areas of the Americas to coastal areas and mangrove forests in the winter months.

Males and females will build their nest together, then the female will lay 3 – 5 eggs. Both parents will stay and raise the nestlings, which fledge at about one-month-old.

Crows and grackles are predators of these little herons. Even snakes and raccoons sometimes eat the eggs. Green herons can freeze and hold still for long moments to avoid a predators gaze. If they happen to be seen, they will fly away, squawking loudly. They may even let out a long stream of poop in the hopes of bombarding their enemy. Sometimes it works!!


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