heron

(redirected from grey herons)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
Related to grey herons: Purple Heron, Heron formula

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.
..... Click the link for more information.
, 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 periodicals archive ?
This is consistent with the findings of Kazantzidis and Goutner (2008) who reported that herons are considerably subservient to freshwater habitats particularly freshwater marsh while sometimes some species show a preference for salty marshes such as Great White Herons, Grey Herons and Little Egrets at a specific period of the year.
You can visit the Wader Lake and see the largest grey heron colony in the area, or just spend some time exploring the nature reserve.
Grey herons will be among the first to build, carrying huge twigs to their colonial nest platforms.
Yesterday he told Government inspector Alan Upward that the airport had already had to take action to counter the bird strike threat from grey herons and mallard and had opposed numerous wetland developments planned nearby.
Grey herons are noisy but make loving pairs and often perform pair-bonding routines such as "billing" - gently tapping bills together - and raising up their black head plumes to each other.
Also alongside the car park is one of the largest heronries in the area and last year yielded over 60 young grey herons.
The bird and animal species bosses at Graphite would like to see include otters, rabbits, kingfishers, tufted ducks, mallards, coots, grey herons, water rails, kestrels, foxes and whitethroats.
As the water floods the vegetation of the marsh, the whole area becomes a vast soup for grey herons to shift through, searching for invertebrate prey, but they will also take voles if they can.
Grey herons have also returned to their communal nests at the tops of trees.
As soon as you arrive, birds are around you - grey herons (pictured) are a regular sight flying to and fro from their nesting trees near the car park.
The mural, which showcases the variety of wildlife often seen at the pond, including northern marsh orchids, grey herons, greenfinches and hedgehogs, should brighten up the hide for visitors.
The south-easterly provided lift for the bird of prey, just as it did for thermalling grey herons, an adult female marsh harrier, high-flying merlin and sparrowhawk.