The Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) is a long-legged wading bird found in the wetlands of Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa.
The Grey Heron has a grey body and grey wings, with a white head and white neck. It has a wide black stripe from the eye to the black crest. It has some black feathers on its side. It has a long pink-yellow beak and brown legs.
It can grow to one metre (39 inches) tall.
It lives near water, such as lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. It feeds mostly on aquatic creatures, such as fish, frogs, eels, and insects, which it catches after standing stationary beside or in the water or stalking its prey.
The Grey Heron lives in colonies, called heronries. They build their nests in tall trees. Females lay 3-5 blue-green eggs. Both male and female parents sit on the eggs until they hatch after about 25 days. Both parents raise the chicks, which become independent after 7-8 weeks.
The Grey Heron flies with its legs outstretched and its neck retracted into an S-shape. Storks, cranes, and spoonbills fly with their necks outstretched.
Location of photographs: Naivasha, Kenya; Dushanbe, Uzbekistan, and Paris, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM