Grey Heron - Hebridean Birds
Western Isles Birds - Grey Herons - Hebridean Birds Sightings.

The Hebrides has an extraordinary diversity of wildlife, birds - including grey herons.The most common of the large herons is the Grey Heron, a large wading bird.

The grey heron - a large bird with heavy bill, long legs and neck.The black and white patterning on its head and neck contrasts with the grey body
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Grey Heron -  Western Isles
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Bird Overview - Grey Heron
Family
Bitterns & Herons
Latin name
Ardea cinerea

 Population
Common


Similar Species
Crane
Description
The grey heron - a large bird with heavy bill, long legs and neck.The black and white patterning on its head and neck contrasts with the grey body.

The grey heron has, yellowish legs and bill. During breeding, legs and bill can become redder.

In flight looks very large with broad, arched wings. In flight it holds its neck retracted and has large rounded wings



Size
94 cm (37") Wingspan 175-195 cm (70-78")
Habitat
Ponds,lakes,rivers,marshes. Often seen in the Western Isles lochs.

Food
Mainly fish, amphibians and small mammals, and occasionally birds.
Voice
A loud, harsh "frarnk", which is often given in flight.
Breeding
The grey herons nest in tall trees - usually with other herons to form a colony or heronry. The nest is a large platform and the nest is made using twigs and grass.

The female and the male birds build the nest. The duties of incubating the eggs are performed by both parents. The eggs are about 60 mm by 43 mm, and pale greenish-blue. Both adults feed the young birds


Misc. Info
Solitary Feeders
They are solitary feeders and very patient, and will standstill for long periods stalking their prey.

Efficient Bill

The large dagger shaped bill is a highly efficient tool for fishing, normally yellow, but it turns bright pink when breeding.

Feather Cleaning
The grey herons have a special powdery down on the sides of their chests. They run any feathers (usually head and neck) that have become sticky or scaly against the down after feeding, and the powder soaks up the fish slime, making the feathers much easier to clean The claw on the 3rd toe has a serrated edge which enables the plumage to be preened clean

Magical or Not?

So successful is the grey heron at fishing that for many years it was said that the legs of the heron must have produced a magical substance which attracted fish as it stood in the water - However there really is no foundation to the rumour.
Grey Heron - Western Isles
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