Herons and allies

71 species

The herons are long-legged, long-necked coastal birds with a cosmopolitan distribution. There are 64 recognized species, some of which are known as egrets or bitterns rather than herons. Although herons resemble birds in some other families, such as the storks, ibises, spoonbills, and cranes, they differ from these in flying with their necks retracted, not outstretched. They are also one of the bird groups that have powder down. The herons and bitterns are carnivorous and feed on a variety of live aquatic prey. Their most common hunting technique is to sit motionless on the edge of or stand in shallow water and wait until prey comes within range. Some members of this group nest colonially in trees, while others, notably the bitterns, use reed beds. Generally, herons lay between three and seven eggs. On the whole, the eggs are glossy blue or white, with the exception being the large bitterns, which lay olive-brown eggs. The herons are a highly mobile family, with most species being at least partially migratory. Their migration typically occurs at night, usually singly or in small groups.
The herons are long-legged, long-necked coastal birds with a cosmopolitan distribution. There are 64 recognized species, some of which are known as egrets or bitterns rather than herons. Although herons resemble birds in some other families, such as the storks, ibises, spoonbills, and cranes, they differ from these in flying with their necks retracted, not outstretched. They are also one of the bird groups that have powder down. The herons and bitterns are carnivorous and feed on a variety of live aquatic prey. Their most common hunting technique is to sit motionless on the edge of or stand in shallow water and wait until prey comes within range. Some members of this group nest colonially in trees, while others, notably the bitterns, use reed beds. Generally, herons lay between three and seven eggs. On the whole, the eggs are glossy blue or white, with the exception being the large bitterns, which lay olive-brown eggs. The herons are a highly mobile family, with most species being at least partially migratory. Their migration typically occurs at night, usually singly or in small groups.