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All About Birds
Great Blue Heron
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The Great Blue Heron is a majestic wading bird from North America. The largest of the American herons, it lives in swamps, marshes, shores, and tide flats. The Great Blue Heron flies with slow wing beats. It has a deep, raspy call that sounds like "frahnk, frahnk, frahnk." The scientific name of the Great Blue Heron is Ardea herodias (genus and species).

Anatomy: The Great Blue Heron is about 4 ft (1.3 m) tall and has a wingspan of up to 6 ft (1.8 m). Its body has gray feathers, the neck is brown, and the thighs are reddish brown. The cheeks, throat, and crown (the front of crest) are white, but the rest of the crest is bluish-black. The bill is dull yellow and the long legs are pale brown.

Diet: The Great Blue Heron eats fish, lizards, frogs, crawfish, rodents, and insects. It hunts in shallow water, usually impaling the prey on its long, sharp bill. It then tosses the dead prey into the air, and catches it with its mouth.

Eggs and Nests: The Great Blue Heron's nest is a platform of twigs and sticks that is built in trees, on cliffs, or on the ground. These birds nest in colonies called rookeries. Females lay 3-7 pale green eggs in each clutch (a set of eggs laid at one time).

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