RSPB
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Conservation status: Green

Grey herons are unmistakeable: tall, with long legs, a long beak and grey, black and white feathering. They can stand with their neck stretched out, looking for food, or hunched down with their neck bent over their chest.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Ardea cinerea

Family

Bitterns and herons (Ardeidae)

Where to see them

Around any kind of water – garden ponds, lakes, rivers and even on estuaries. Sometimes, grey herons circle high up into the sky and can be mistaken for large birds of prey.

When to see them

At any time of year – our grey herons do not migrate.

What they eat

Lots of fish, but also small birds such as ducklings, small mammals like voles, and amphibians. After harvesting, grey herons can sometimes be seen in fields, looking for rodents.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-13,000 nests63,000 birds-

Distribution

Key

Audio

Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto

Similar birds