30 March 2009

The Grey Heron

The Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae, native throughout temperate Europe and Asia and also parts of Africa. Its is both a migratory and resident bird depending upon the climate.

There are four subspecies of the Grey Heron, of which Ardea Cinerea Cinerea Linnareus (Tamil = Sambal Narai) is found in Tamil Nadu and Tiruvannamalai District.

This bird flies with steady wing beats with neck folded back and head drawn in between the shoulders and its long legs trailing behind. It’s a big bird with large wing span and has a comparatively lumbering take off.

This bird is the size of an Asian openbill stork. Its field characteristics is that of a lanky stork-like bird. It is ashy grey above with white crown and neck, greyish white below, with long slender S-shaped neck, narrow head, and pointed dagger bill.

There is currently a colony of Grey Herons residing on the reedy banks of Samudram Erie but they will undoubtedly fly off as the lake water recedes. Several years ago when the Samudram was stocked with fish, the migratory Grey Heron was found in large quantities throughout that season.

The Grey Heron wades into shallow water with neck craned and bill poised, or stands hunched up but alert waiting for a frog or fish to blunder within striking range.

Its nesting season in South India is November to March. Its nest is comprised of a twig platform with the central depression lined with grass. Built gregariously in trees, often amongst mixed heronries. It lays 3 to 6 eggs of deep sea-green colour. Both sexes share all domestic duties.

To view a selection of videos of the Grey Heron click this link here.


animtreebird said...

Very beautiful bird. Nice photos of them. :)))

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