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Surname: Gray heron
Other names: Heron
Latin name: Ardea cinerea
size: 0.9 - 1 m
mass: 0.8 - 2.0 kg
Older: 20 - 35 years
Appearance: gray-white plumage, black wings, yellow-orange beak
Sexual dimorphism: No
Nutrition type: preferably fish eater (piscivor)
food: Fish, frogs, insects, crustaceans, bird eggs
distribution: Europe, Asia and Africa
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: near standing and running waters
natural enemies: Marten, Milan, raven
sexual maturity: after the second year of life
mating season: March - June
breeding season: 24 - 26 days
clutch size: 4 - 5 eggs
social behavior: Loner or colony-forming
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the gray heron
- The gray heron, also called heron or Aredea cinerea, describes a walking bird, which is widespread in Europe, Asia and Africa.
- Depending on the distribution area, it is either a stand or migratory bird, and some populations also live as partakers.
- Gray herons colonize different habitats from Northern Europe to South Africa, but they are missing in deserts, tundra and steppes as well as in the mountains.
- They always stay close to waters that can be both coastal and inland. They are particularly common in shallow lakes, reed belts, ponds, swamps, lake shores and flood plains.
- The gray heron can often be observed on beaches, in salt marshes and in mangroves.
- Occasionally, gray herons also come into gardens when there are ponds that are populated with fish.
- Like all birds of passage, the gray heron is slender and has a long neck and long legs.
- He reaches a body length of about one meter and brings a maximum weight of two kilograms on the scales.
- Males and females do not differ in appearance.
- The gray heron owes its name to its predominantly ash and light gray plumage. Only the top of the head and the forehead and the bows on the body appear white.
- With its long yellowish tweezers' beak, the gray heron is perfectly adapted to its hunting style in shallow water.
- Its food consists mainly of small fish and amphibians as well as crabs, water snakes and newts. Also various insects, mice, rats and the eggs and chicks of other species of birds are captured.
- Gray herons live mostly as loners, but can also join together to small flocks with great food supply and hunt together.
- The breeding season of the gray heron extends from March to June.
- Males and females join together to form mostly monogamous couples and breed from the second year of life.
- The female lays four or five eggs in the nest, which is usually high up in a tree. From these, the young birds hatch after about 25 days.
- The young birds are thrown in the nest for two weeks, after which they are on their own.
- The maximum life expectancy of the gray heron is 35 years.
- Almost seventy percent of the young gray herons do not survive the first six months, as they fall as nestlings martens, Uhus, corvids, foxes or eagles.