The adult Green Heron is a striking bird with an iridescent, greenish-blue back, greenish-black crown, rufous neck, white chin, a cream streak that extends from its throat to its belly, a thin, straight daggerlike bill, and yellowish (or yellow-orange during breeding season) legs and feet. It is the most colorful bird in its family and is the second smallest heron species in North America.
Green Herons inhabit small, freshwater wetlands including swamps, marshes, lakes and ponds. Birders first encounter with one is often hearing its harsh, sharp "skeow" call when flushed.
Patience is a natural virtue of the Green Heron. It is a "sit and wait" predator, as it will crouch at a spot in a wetland where there are small fish, frogs, or aquatic insects, stand motionless, and then rapidly extend its nect and beak to grap its prey. The victim is usually swallowed whole. Occasionally, it may attract prey with bait (a feather, leaf, insect, or berries) that it drops in the water to lure fish within striking distance. This feeding method makes the Green Heron one of the few bird species to use tools.
Did you know? Green Herons have been known to plunge completely beneath the surface to capture prey in deep water. They swim back to shore using the webs between their middle and outer toes.
Photo credit: Carol Decker
Town: Amesbury Total Acres: Year Conserved: Difficulty: