October 29, 2017

Dunes in Flight: Green Heron


While on our field trip to Oso Flaco Lake last week, some students noticed a funny looking bird in the reeds. “Why is that bird standing like that?”, they asked of the green-feathered bird that appeared to be crouching over the water. I explained that it was a Green Heron (Butorides virescens), and that it was probably on the lookout for some food.

Found throughout North and Central America, the Green Heron, unlike its great blue cousin, is a small heron with shorter legs growing up to 18 inches in length and weighing 8.5 ounces.

The heron's green and brown plumage offers excellent camouflage from their prey as they perch on branches above the water. Green Herons will use twigs, feathers, and other objects as fishing lures, making them a part of the very small group of tool-using birds. Next time you find yourself in one of our coastal wetlands see if you can spot one of these handsome birds.


Photo © Eric Sonstroem /, via Wikimedia Commons


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