- 16.1–18.1 in
- 25.2–26.8 in
- 8.5 oz
- Green-backed Heron (English)
- Heron vert (French)
- Garcita verde (Spanish)
- The Green Heron is one of the few tool-using birds. It commonly drops bait onto the surface of the water and grabs the small fish that are attracted. It uses a variety of baits and lures, including crusts of bread, insects, earthworms, twigs, or feathers.
- The Green Heron is part of a complex of small herons that sometimes are considered one species. When lumped, they are called Green-backed Heron. When split, they are the Green Heron, the widespread Striated Heron, and the Galapagos Heron.
- As is typical for many herons, the Green Heron tends to wander after the breeding season is over. Most wanderers probably seek more favorable foraging areas and do not travel far, but occasionally some travel greater distances, with individuals turning up as far as England and France.
- Breeds in swampy thickets. Forages in swamps, along creeks and streams, in marshes, ponds, lake edges, and pastures.
- Winters mostly in coastal areas, especially mangrove swamps.
Small fish, invertebrates, insects, frogs, and other small animals.
- Clutch Size
- 2–6 eggs
- Egg Description
- Pale green.
- Condition at Hatching
- Helpless, but eyes open and covered in grayish down.
Nest a basket of sticks, placed in small tree or shrub, usually over water. Nests in small, loose colonies.
Stands still next to water and grabs small fish with explosive dart of head and neck. One of the few birds that uses bait to attract fish, it drops such things as bread crusts, insects, and twigs onto the water.
Common and widespread. Populations difficult to census accurately, but appear stable.
- Davis, W. E., Jr., and J. A. Kushlan. 1994. Green Heron (Butorides virescens). In The Birds of North America, No. 129 (A. Poole, and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.