Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
The Great Blue Heron is a wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae, common over most of North and Central America as well as the West Indies and the Galapagos Islands, except for the far north and deserts and high mountains where there is no water for it to feed in. It is an extremely rare vagrant to Europe, with records from Spain, the Azores and England.
The primary food for Great Blue Heron is small fish, though they are also known to eat shellfish, insects, rodents, amphibians, reptiles, and small birds. It is generally a solitary feeder. Individuals usually forage while standing in water, but will also forage in fields or drop from the air, or a perch, into water. As large wading birds, Great Blue Herons are able to feed in deeper waters, and thus are able to exploit a niche not open to most other heron species. It during both the night and the day, but especially around dawn and dusk. Herons locate their food by sight and generally swallow it whole. Herons have been known to choke on prey that is too large.
Birds east of the Rocky Mountains in the northern part of their range are migratory and winter in Central America or northern South America. From the southern United States southwards, and on the Pacific coast, they are year-round residents. However their hardiness is such that individuals often remain through cold northern winters, as well.
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