GREAT WHITE HERON

This a big wading bird of snowy-white color. The weight is 900-1100 grams. The beak is long, straight and yellow. The paws and dactyls are long and dark-grey.

The heron rarely flies in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Most commonly, it is Khakassia or Minusinsk kettle hole where the bird can be met. The nearest nesting places are situated in Southern Trans-Baikal and Eastern Kazakhstan. The bird inhabits water basins, boggy lowlands, shores of rivers, fresh and salt lakes. In addition, it can be encountered in farmlands and open fields. The heron hunts at shoal waters or on the ground. The white heron’s diet consists of frogs, snakes, fish, crawfish, small rodents and insects.

The birds moves slowly and proudly stretching its neck and peering for the prey. It hunts alone or in groups in daytime and in twilight. When the night comes the herons gather in groups and look for a refuge. The herons often take food from smaller herons and fight for the prey with their kind. Like other herons the great white heron draws its head backwards bending it in an S-shaped pattern.

During breeding period each bird has its own area which it carefully protect. Following season’s end the couples often break up. The part of the population is resident, others migrate within the area of species in winter time and still others migrate very long distances.

The birds reach reproductive age at 2 years. The great white herons are seasonal monogamous birds that is the create a couple only for one mating season although there are known cases of repeated re-union of the same couple. The birds nest in colonies, often with other heron species. There is only one brood during a year.

A female lays 3-6 bluish-green eggs. Both females and males hatch the eggs. Incubation period is 23-26 days.