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The Graceful and Patient Bloureier Bloureier? Never heard of that one?

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The Graceful and Patient Bloureier Bloureier? Never heard of that one?

Bloureier? Never heard of that one? Here's a hint.. Bloureier is a Afrikaans name for one of our feathered friends that is known for his patience and perseverance.  I suppose the picture is more than a hint, but for a second I bet I had you wondering what a Bloureier could be.The Bloureir, or Grey Heron, can be  seen around slow-moving streams and rivers, shallow lakes and on occasion, the water holes that we watch here at Africam.

Often seen standing motionless in the shallow water for long lengths of time, the Grey Heron waits and watches for fish, small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects and other small tid bits of live food to cross his path. Once he has spotted his prey, a quick jab with his dagger like beak grabs his prey tightly. Fish are eaten head first to avoid the spines of the fish from getting caught in the throat. If the fish is too big, the heron will take it to the shore and tear it in smaller pieces before devouring it. What often appears as cruelty, may have an easy explanation. In this video of the Grey Heron preparing and finally swallowing a frog, we see it shake the frog again and again before finally eating it. Some believe this action is to assure the prey is dead, thus allowing the bird to position it for a quick swallow without the prey wriggling itself free.

The Grey Heron has long legs and a long neck, both out of proportion to the body. He averages a height of 98 cms and weighs around 1020 gms. This bird can be hard to spot when resting, as he brings his head down to his body, remaining motionless and silent. As we see in this video, the grey heron does make sounds, a raspy call most often heard from the male around mating season.

An interesting fact to note, the plumage of a heron, those long wispy feathers, may become dirty when it is catching wet and slippery prey. So how does he clean away that dirt and slime? He has a patch of crumbly feathers called 'powder down' on his breast and rump. And with a specially shaped claw on the third toe, he combs through the plumage, cleaning himself thoroughly. After all, if a female just happens to come by, it would never do to have dirty feathers. That certainly woudn't impress her much at all!