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bird Grey Herons

Identify It >  Birds >   Grey Herons >

Scientific name:  Ardea cinerea

Size:  Approx 90cm tall with a wingspan of almost 200cm

Distribution:  Found throughout the UK

Months seen:  All year round

Life Span: 5 years (source BTO)

Habitat:  Ponds, lakes, rivers and reservoirs

Food:  Fish, frogs, eels, mice, voles and even small rabbits

Special features:  The large and rather lanky Grey Heron has an almost prehistoric look about it, especially when flying.  In the air, its wing beats are very slow, and its head is drawn back close to its body.

Herons have long legs built for wading.  They will sometimes wait patiently in the water for fish to swim close to them before lunging at them with their dagger-like beak.

Grey herons build large nests at the tops of tall trees, often in the same place year after year.  Where several birds nest in the same area, the site is called a 'heronry', and some of the larger heronries in the UK have over 100 nests.  February and March are good months to go heron watching because the trees are still leafless and you can get a clear view of them as they start nest building.

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