Great blue heron — Ducks Unlimited Canada
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Know your waterfowl

Great blue heron

Ardea herodias

Great blue heron hunting in shallow water and grass. ©DUC

Our largest heron, the great blue heron stands a metre or more high. A colony nester, it fishes and hunts alone, patiently patrolling shallow, marshy shorelines, using its bill like needle-nose pliers to capture small fish, amphibians, rodents and large insects. In flight, it is recognized by its slow, graceful, but powerful wing beat and its neck that doubles back to rest its head on its shoulders. Great blue herons breed across southern Canada and often wander into Canadian Shield country farther north in search of food. Wintering may take them to either coast or as far south as Columbia and Venezuela.

Habitat: Shallow waters along edges of lakes, ponds, rivers and marshes.

Range: Coast-to-coast across southern Canada.

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