Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

The bird is slightly smaller than the stork. Its name is associated with its gray coloration. When flying, it can be easily recognized by the characteristically bent neck in the shape of an “S”. It occurs in areas where rivers and water bodies are adjacent to forests. It is also often observed on meadows and pastures, and in especially large numbers in fish ponds on the lookout for easy prey. The gray heron hunts mainly fish and amphibians, reptiles, small mammals and larger insects. It is very voracious. It swallows its prey whole, even that reaching up to 20 cm. It builds nests in the crowns of tall trees, rarely on bushes or in reeds. It mostly nests in breeding colonies. Herons increasingly tend not to fly away for the winter because they find numerous ponds at power plants or waste water estuaries that do not freeze over.

Confusing words

a breeding colony – a congregation of nesting birds, birds can congregate in single-species colonies, as well as in mixed ones where more than one species breeds (e.g. herons together with cormorants).