Green heron

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Project Description

Green Heron

Butorides virescens

 

Range/Geographical Distribution: Breeds throughout most of the United States and Southern Canada. Spends its winters along the coasts of California, Texas, and Arizona. Also winters along the Gulf Coast and along the Atlantic Coast to South Carolina.

Habitat: Breeds in swamps. Forages in swamps, ponds, marshes, creeks, and streams.

Similar Species: Tricolored heron, and little blue heron. 

Description:  The green heron has a black crown with a dark green/blue back and wings and a rusty red neck. Its bill is dark and its legs are green/yellow. Immature birds have streaks on the neck, breast, and sides.  

Size: Length: 16-18” Wingspan: 25-27” Weight: 240g

Food: Small fish, invertebrates, amphibians, and insects.

Breeding:  Lays three to six pale green/blue eggs in a nest of loose sticks in a tree or a dense thicket.

Predators:  Snakes, grackles, and raccoons eat eggs and young. Large birds of prey will prey upon adult green herons.

Conservation Status: Listed as least concern by IUCN. Populations are stable.

Interesting Facts: Green herons have been known to place an object, like an insect, on the surface of the water to attract a fish to catch.

On the Coast: While most green herons migrate away from Georgia’s coast in the autumn, some will stay along the coast all winter.

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