Great Blue Heron is a large wading bird belonging to the Ardeidae family, which includes herons, egrets, and bitterns. The Ardeidae family contains about 60 species world wide. It is common to find these herons near the shores of open water and in the wetlands spread over most of North and Central America. They are also found in the West Indies and the Galapogos Islands. There is an all-white population of herons found only in the Caribbean and South Florida, which was once recognized as a separate species, though now the Great White Herons belong to the same species as of Blue Herons. Read the article to know some more interesting facts and amazing information on Great Blue Heron.
Facts About Great Blue Heron
Species: A. herodias
Height: 91–140 cm
Weight: 3.6 kg
Lifespan: 15 years
Diet: Fish, turtles, snakes, insects & rodents
Habitat: Open shores of water & wetlands
Age of Sexual Maturity: 22 months
Gestation Period: 28 days
Number of Offspring: 3-7
Interesting & Amazing Information On Great Blue Heron
- The Great Blue Herons are identified with their red-brown thighs and a paired red-brown and white stripe up the flanks. The neck of these herons is rusty-gray in color, with black and white streaks running down the front. They have a nearly white face and the head is paler.
- This Heron species can be seen searching for food anytime during the day, when there is enough light. They eat a wide variety of prey, other than fish, such as frogs, salamanders, turtles, snakes, insects, rodents, and small birds. The Great Blue Heron is capable of swallowing a fish many times wider than its narrow neck.
- Herons are known to nest in colonies. One of the largest colonies of herons is located in Renton, Washington. Some time back, there were approximately 135 active nests in this heron colony.
- The Great Blue Herons keep adding sticks to their nests every year for re-use. The male heron brings sticks and the female works them into the nest. This is the reason why the older nest herons are best identified with their large size.
- Due to their tendency to congregate at fish hatcheries, blue herons are likely to create potential problems for fish farmers. A study conducted on herons discovered that herons mostly fed on diseased fish that would have anyway died soon. Sick fish spend more time near the water surface, thus becoming vulnerable to attack by herons.
- The Great Blue Herons have special neck vertebrae that allow them to curl their neck in to an “S” shape. This structure of their neck facilitates them a very quick strike at their prey. During the flight, the neck is folded back into the S-shape and the legs are stretched out behind them.
- Herons and egrets were usually hunted during the 19th century for their plumes. Their beautiful feathers were used to decorate hats made for women. This led to the depletion of many heron species. As such, heron hunting was outlawed in the early 20th century.