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The Solitary Green Heron

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

Solitary and secretive birds, Green Herons are stocky, dark colored, and small for herons. Adults have a dark rufous neck, gray belly, and dark, iridescent, greenish-blue back and bright orange legs.


Green Herons prefer to inhabit small, freshwater wetlands, ponds, and stream-sides bordered with thick vegetation. In winter, they frequent coastal areas and mangrove swamps.


Green Herons are solitary birds that usually forage from a perch, standing with its body lowered and stretched out horizontally, ready to lunge its bill at unsuspecting prey. One of the few birds known to use tools, the Green Heron will attract prey with bait such as feathers, small sticks, or berries, dropping them into the water. Fish are the primary food of this opportunistic feeder. Crayfish and other crustaceans are also a source of food, as are aquatic insects, frogs, grasshoppers, snakes, and rodents. Watch a video of a Green Heron hunting here.


Green Herons typically nest in trees near the water. The male will stake out a territory then call to attract a female. On some occasions, pairs will form during migration and then select the site together. Unlike most herons, the Green Heron does not typically nest in large colonies. Read more about these beautiful birds via BirdWeb.

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