heron

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heron

(hĕr`ən), common name for members of the family Ardeidae, large wading birds including the bittern and the egret, found in most temperate regions but most numerous in tropical and subtropical areas. Unlike the remotely related cranes and ibises, which fly with their heads extended straight forward, herons fly with their necks folded back on their shoulders. Their plumage is soft and drooping and, especially at breeding time, there may be long, showy plumes on the head, breast, and back. Herons are usually solitary feeders, patiently stalking their prey (small fish and other aquatic animals) in streams and marshes and then stabbing them with their sharp, serrated bills. Most herons roost and nest in large colonies called heronries; others are gregarious only at breeding time; and some are entirely solitary. The nests vary from a sketchy platform of twigs high in a tree to a bulky mass of weeds and rushes built on the ground among the marsh reeds. American herons include the great and little blue herons, the green heron, the yellow-crowned and the black-crowned night herons (the latter known also as night quawk, because of its cry), and the Louisiana heron, called by Audubon "the lady of the waters." The great white heron of Florida, a little larger (50 in./125 cm long) than the great blue, is a striking bird sometimes confused with the American egret. Other large white herons are common in Africa. The European night heron ranges to India and N Africa. The odd looking shoe-billed heron (or stork, a misnomer) is found along the White Nile and the boat-billed heron in tropical America. Herons are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Ciconiiformes, family Ardeidae.

heron

[′her·ən]
(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for wading birds composing the family Ardeidae characterized by long legs and neck, a long tapered bill, large wings, and soft plumage.

heron

any of various wading birds of the genera Butorides, Ardea, etc., having a long neck, slim body, and a plumage that is commonly grey or white: family Ardeidae, order Ciconiiformes

Heron

Patrick. 1920--99, British abstract painter and art critic
References in classic literature ?
Bird life was abundant, especially the wading birds, stork, heron, and ibis gathering in little groups, blue, scarlet, and white, upon every log which jutted from the bank, while beneath us the crystal water was alive with fish of every shape and color.
The sole effect of her presence upon the placid valley so far had been to excite the mind of a solitary heron, which, after descending to the ground not far from her path, stood with neck erect, looking at her.
Archer, remaining seated, watched the light movements of her figure, so girlish even under its heavy furs, the cleverly planted heron wing in her fur cap, and the way a dark curl lay like a flattened vine spiral on each cheek above the ear.
HERON FOSTER, editor of a Pittsburgh journal, and a most estimable gentleman.
Yet Twala has learnt his lesson; the hawk did not think to find the heron ready; but our beak has pierced his breast; he fears to strike at us again.
Monsieur, if you are a robber, as I hope you are, you produce upon me the effect of a heron attacking a nutshell.
The tree of grief is planted over their tomb; don't go to it; the king is going that way; the heron has fallen just there.
Madame de Montespan complied; she took the hand the king held out to her, and he, plucking out the first feather from the heron, which the falconer had strangled, placed it in his beautiful companion's hat.
Jupiter, displeased with all their complaints, sent a Heron, who preyed upon the Frogs day by day till there were none left to croak upon the lake.
Now and again a peaty amber colored stream rippled across their way, with ferny over-grown banks, where the blue kingfisher flitted busily from side to side, or the gray and pensive heron, swollen with trout and dignity, stood ankle-deep among the sedges.
Heron has described how one pied peacock was eminently attractive to all his hen birds.
As the heron looketh contemptuously at shallow pools, with backward-bent head, so do I look at the throng of grey little waves and wills and souls.