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Reddish Vale Country Park

Grey Heron

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These large and striking birds can be spotted standing motionless at the water's edge, waiting patiently for prey.

 

Grey herons wade through shallow water searching for prey, such as fish and amphibians. When they have found a suitable location, they will stand motionless waiting for the right moment to stab the prey with their beaks.

 

Herons fly with the head drawn back and feet trailing behind. The wing beats are slow and the curved wings form an m-shape.

Some individuals migrate to western Europe in the winter.

 

Grey herons breed in colonies, or sometimes solitarily, typically in woodland near water. Nests are made from dry twigs and are constructed in tall trees. Females lay 3-5 blue-green eggs, which are incubated by both parents in turn for about 28 days.

 

Herons are opportunistic hunters and suppliment their diet of fish and amphibians with small mammals and young birds and are capable of catching and eating rabbits.

 

The grey heron is not currently threatened; indeed it is increasing its range, and is now more abundant in Britain than it has ever been since monitoring of heronries began in 1928. This may be the result of an increase in temperature during winter, and a fall in levels of persecution.

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Weight, 1-2kg,

Wingspan, 175-195cm,

Lifespan, upto 25yrs,

Diet, mainly fish,

Breeding pairs in the UK, 13,000.

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Grey Heron