What is Ardeidae? I hear you ask. Well this is the name of the family that herons, bitterns and egrets belong to. For sometime this year I’ve been focusing my photography on herons and egrets and I have finally decided I’ve got enough images to produce a blog. Before we get any further I must inform you this blog contains an image some people may find disturbing.
Grey herons have nested at my local reserve for as long as I can remember. However, the little egret has only bred on the reserve for the last couple of years. In fact over ten years ago the little egret was a rare sight in Britain, and the appearance of a lone individual would cause a stir within the bird watching world.
Standing between ninety and ninety-eight centimetres tall the grey heron is a large, long-legged grey and white bird. They are often seen standing motionless in shallow water or wading purposefully in search of fish. Juveniles resemble adults, but have more black and white markings and greyer underparts.Grey herons are one of the earliest nesters, with clutches of four to five eggs often being complete in March. Incubation of the eggs and the rearing of the chicks takes a lot longer than smaller species, seeing them fledged by July.
Standing at a mere fifty-six centimetres tall the little egret is a distinctive heron-like bird with pure white plumage. The breeding adult has long plumes on the nape and back. The legs are black with yellow feet and the bill is dagger like. Unlike their motionless cousins the little egret will be seen striding through the shallows in ambush. It will often shuffle along to flush out prey before making the strike. Breeding between May and June they will only lay two to three eggs.
The diet between a little egret and a grey heron is surprisingly very different. The little egret feeds mainly on fish, but also amphibians and larger aquatic invertebrates, Whereas, the grey heron can be found eating fish, frogs and small aquatic life. But more shockingly they are known to eat birds and can even be found standing in fields during harvesting looking for mice, voles and other mammals.
Hope you enjoyed the read and learned some new things about these large wading birds that are adapted for feeding in water. Feel free to share my work but please credit me. Please contact me for further details.