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Grey Heron

The Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) belongs to the family Ardeidae. They are commonly observed wading in shallow water but may swim into deeper water in search of their favourite food – fish. They are however also partial to crabs, frogs, small reptiles (like baby crocodiles), small mammals, birds, worms and centipedes.

They are conspicuous looking birds because of their size and because they are usually solitary. They stand motionless for long periods in shallow water patiently waiting for some likely prey too come their way which will be quickly snapped up with their large bill. They also stalk their prey and can be observed moving very slowly, step by step towards their intended meal.

The birds are large with an overall colour of shades of grey. There is a distinct black eye stripe above the eye, which ends at the back of the head in a black crest. There are black streaks on the front of the neck and a black patch on the shoulder. The under wings are a darker grey. They fly with slow, ponderous wing beats and can be found roosting before nightfall, communally with other grey herons and associated water birds on rocks, islands or trees where there is noisy and raucous vocalizing. The iris and bill are yellow in colour. Legs and feet are brown with yellow at the back, which turns to red at the start of breeding.