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Height 90-98 cm (35¬Ĺ-38¬Ĺ in)
A very widespread Old World species breeding across much of Eurasia and Africa. Breeds throughout the British Isles and much of mainland Europe from north and central France north to coastal Scandinavia and east across Russia to Sakhalin, Manchuria and Japan. In the south found at scattered localities from Iberia to Greece and Turkey, the Caucasus and east across southern Asia, India and Indochina south to Sumatra and Java. In Africa breeds on the Mediterranean coast and in the Nile Valley, on the Banc D'Arguin in Mauritania, probably also on the Azores, in West Africa, western Madagascar and from Ethiopia south to South Africa.
Northernmost birds are migratory and winter range is more extensive in Europe, Africa, south-west Asia and Indonesia. Vagrant north to Greenland and Svalbard and to the south a rare resident/migrant or vagrant to Azores and Cape Verde Islands. Also recorded on Bermuda, the West Indies and in Newfoundland.
There are 4 subspecies:
Colonial breeder, usually in trees in most of Europe, sometimes on a cliff or in reedbeds in the east; race monicae nests on the ground on islets. Frequents the margins of a variety of freshwater including lakes, streams and swamps, brackish lagoons and estuaries, and often sea-coasts. Also feeds or rests on grassland.
In some parts of range a common bird in urban areas. The Grey Heron is a familiar bird of lakes, rivers, pans and also rocky coastlines where it is usually seen hunting in shallow water.
Birds spend long periods standing still in the water, waiting patiently for prey to swim within range of a lightning fast lunge of the bill.
They have occasionally been observed to swim.
Like others of the family, the Grey Heron flies with its long neck retracted and the head pulled back into its shoulders.
Opportunist feeders, Grey Herons eat a wide variety of fish, invertebrates, ducklings and land animals, such as rats and young rabbits.
Colonial breeders, often mixed with other species such as egrets, cormorants and spoonbills. The colony is almost always associated with water - fresh or salt.
The nest is an untidy platform of sticks, usually at the top of a tall tree. Usual clutch size is 3-4 eggs.
The call is a harsh kraaank.
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 In Culture
 Other Names
German: Graureiher; Afrikaans: Bloureier; Polish: Czapla siwa; Gaelic: Corra-Ghritheach
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