Gray Heron

Ardea cinerea jouyi

Order

PELECANIFORMES

Family

Bitterns, Herons and Egrets (Ardeidae)

Code 4

Non-AOU

Code 6

CHAALE

ITIS

Egg Color:

Green-blue



Number of Eggs:

3 - 6



Incubation Days:

24 - 28



Egg Incubator:

Female



Nest Location:

In a tree near water.



Nest Material:

Sticks



Migration:

Most do not migrate



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General

Gray Heron: Large wading bird, upperparts are pale gray to blue-gray, underparts are white. Large flight feathers are dark gray-blue. Head is white with a large blue-black eyebrow and long black crest. White neck and breast have black mottling along sides. Sexes are similar. Juvenile lacks the plumes and is gray overall.

Breeding and Nesting

Gray Heron: Usually nests in tall trees with other herons, forming colonies called heronries. Three to six green-blue eggs are laid in a large platform nest built of sticks. Both sexes incubate eggs for 24 to 28 days. Chicks fledge about 50 days later. Both parents feed and take care of the young.

Foraging and Feeding

Gray Heron: Feeds in shallow water, where it will stand motionless for hours waiting for prey, or it slowly stalk its victim. Feeds mainly on fish, but also eats small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and other birds.

Vocalization

Gray Heron: Generally silent. Call is a loud "gwark" or "kar-arnk" which is usually produced in flight.

Similar Species

Dark morph Pacific Reef-heron is much smaller, is uniform in color, and has yellow legs and feet.

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
CrestX
Tufts of feathers on the head of the bird.
EyebrowX
Also called the supercilicum or superciliary it is the arch of feathers over each eye.
Flight feathersX
Located on the wing, and collectively called remiges (singular, remex). The long stiff feathers are subdivided into two major groups based on the location and are called primaries and secondaries.
PlumesX
Large, conspicuous, showy feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X