Also referred to as Ardea Cinerea, the grey heron is a long-legged and massive predatory wading bird of the heron family-Ardeidae and one of the incredible bird species explored on Uganda safaris and tours.
The Grey Heron is marked with a white head and neck with a black stripe that extend from the eye to the black crest. The wings and body are grey while the downer parts are greyish white with some black color on the sides. The bill of grey heron is long and sharp pointed with pinkish-yellow color while the legs are brown as viewed on birding safari in Uganda.
The Grey Heron stretches up to 84 – 100cm in length and weighs 1 – 2.1kg. The life span is 15 – 24 years.
The habitat of the Grey Heron comprises of shallow waters both fresh and salty, plains places but with trees for nesting, close to lakes, rivers and rice fields. It is also common in mangroves, estuaries and tidal mudflats.
The diet of Grey Heron comprises of insects, small rodents along with frogs. It can stay put at the water edge waiting patiently for the prey. Its notably a passive feeder holding on one leg with its neck sunk within shoulders as at times explored while undertaking birding safaris in Uganda.
The Grey Heron lays 1 – 10 eggs that are white or pale blue in color and incubation of 25 – 26 days is undertaken by both parents. Fledging occurs at 50 days after the hatch.
Birders on Uganda tours have chances of viewing grey heron in Queen Elizabeth National Park among other protected areas.
The Grey Heron is listed as species of Least Concern on the red list of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
By Siima Simon Peter