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Bird Illustrations

Wading Birds

Herons, Watercolor Painting


great blue herons

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), watercolor

About the illustration:
Commissioned by: Wisconsin Sea Grant, University of Wisconsin­Madison

About great blue herons:
Great blue herons grow to about four feet tall and have a seven foot wingspan. They eat fish, frogs and other amphibians, snakes, rodents, and insects. They feed by standing in shallow water and spearing fish or frogs with their bill. They live in colonies of nests made in tall trees. The colonies of nests are called rookeries. In flight, they can resemble sandhill cranes. The difference is that herons have an "S" curve in their necks, in flight, while cranes have a straight silhouette. Great blue herons are common throughout the U.S. Parents feed young by regurgitating the food.

Taxonomy:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (having a spinal chord)
Class: Aves (birds)
Order: Ciconiiformes (large, long-legged wading birds)
Family: Ardeidae (herons, egrets, bitterns)
Genus: Ardea (large herons)
Species: A. herodias

Read more about great blue herons:
Canadian Museum of Nature: Great Blue Heron
Environmental Education for Kids: The Majestic Great Blue Heron (see image of difference between heron and crane in flight)

Also see:

herons nest heron heron



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