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Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday's Foto

At about the size of an American Crow, the Green Heron is North America's second smallest wading bird after the Least Bittern. This short, stocky, mostly dark heron's most obvious traits are its chestnut breast and neck, as well as, its bluish-gray upper plumage. The "green" in the common name comes from the iridescent green sheen seen in good lighting in the crown, wings and tail.

This solitary species forages primarily by standing motionless at the edge of the water waiting for prey. They are one of the few bird species known to use tools in the form of food, insects or other small objects dropped onto the water surface to attract fish. Their diet consists of small fish, aquatic arthropods and frogs. Other prey includes any invertebrate or vertebrate they can catch, including small rodents.

Around New York City they typically build their nests in tree branches overhanging water. Fortunately, young Green Herons are reportedly capable of swimming well.

The Green Heron breeds in most of the eastern United States from the Canadian border south to the Gulf of Mexico and west to the Great Plains, western Texas and southwestern New Mexico. On the Pacific coast, it breeds from British Columbia south to California and Arizona. After the breeding season the more northerly populations migrate to overwintering grounds in the southern United States to northern Colombia, northern Venezuela and eastern Ecuador.

Their scientific name, Butorides virescens, means - resembling the bittern and greenish.

This species is not on the State of North America's Birds 2016 "Watch List". The conservation status of the Green Heron has not yet been assessed for the IUCN Red List. Their populations appear to be stable and they may be expanding their range northward in parts of the northwest.

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