Fun Heron Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Heron Facts For Kids

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A heron (Ardeidae) is a type of bird from the Animalia kingdom under the classification of Aves. The heron bird has over 64 species including birds referred to as egrets and bitterns.  

Some of the more common types of herons are little blue heron, yellow-crowned night heron, black heron, green heron, tricolored heron, Goliath heron. Some more types are grey heron, grey egret, great blue heron (Ardea herodias), black-crowned night heron, little egret, etc.

Herons are long-necked fresh water and coastal birds that have long legs and pointed bills. The necks of the heron are curved in the shape of the letter S. They have varied colors such as white, black, blue, brown, and grey. The top half including the head has feathers. They are carnivorous in nature and commonly feed on insects, fish, mollusks, and small mammals.

Herons are categorized as of Least Concern for their conservation status as they are found in plenty of wildlife. They are frequently found along coastlines, shores of streams or lakes, and wetlands across the world. Interestingly they are found in every continent such as North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, etc. They are generally a predatory and migratory species of bird.

One difference between an egret vs heron is that egrets have black legs but herons have much lighter legs. To differentiate between a  heron vs crane, we need to see how they fly. Herons curve their neck into S-shape, and while flying pull them back. Cranes stick their necks out while flying.

You may also check out golden pheasant facts and purple finch facts from Kidadl.

Fun Heron Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Fish, reptiles, small mammals

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3 - 7 eggs

How much do they weigh?

4.6-7.3 lb (2-3.3 kg)

How long are they?

36-54 in (91-137 cm)

How tall are they?

45-54 in (115-138 cm)

What do they look like?

Black, white, blue, brown, gray

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Raccoons, Owls, Eagles, Hawks

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Marshes, Coastlines, Shores Of Ponds Or Streams


All Continents Except Antarctica









Heron Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a heron?

A heron is a type of coastal bird with a long neck, long legs, and pointed beak. It is found on all continents across the world.

What class of animal does a heron belong to?

The heron (Ardea) is from the kingdom Animalia, class Aves, from the family Ardeidae.

How many herons are there in the world?

Herons are classified as of Least Concern for their conservation status and are found in plentiful numbers in the wild. There are over 64 species of the heron including birds referred to as egrets and bitterns. Such as night heron, green heron, little blue heron, black-crowned night heron, yellow-crowned night heron, and Goliath heron.

Where does a heron live?

Herons are aquatic birds commonly found in freshwater wetlands, ponds, lakes, shores of streams, etc. They are found on every continent except Antarctica.

What is a heron's habitat?

Herons are found nearly all over the world except for the coldest climates such as the Arctic or Antarctic. They are also not found in deserts or high mountains. Herons in general are close to water bodies in wildlife. They are non-swimming, aquatic birds found on the coastland of streams, rivers, and lakes. Their habitat is primarily in tropical regions. Herons build nests in tall trees or shrubs close to the ground in nesting colonies called Heronries.

Who do herons live with?

Heron (Ardea) is a social bird species that construct large nests with family in bushes, cliffs, or trees. These nests are called Heronries or Rookeries. Many subspecies of Herons are also migratory in nature. The migration takes place at night either individually or in groups. They migrate in search of new feeding areas usually after the breeding season.

How long does a heron live?

Herons live for about 15-20 years on average.

How do they reproduce?

Herons live in nesting colonies called Heronries. They are a monogamous species which means their breeding strategy only includes one mate. Unlike several other species of birds, heron birds only have one breeding season in a year. Prior to mating, the courtship takes place in the nest.

Males arrive and extravagantly display their plumage to attract the females. During this process, they are building the nest. The male gathers materials needed for the nest and gives them to the female and shrieks loudly. When the male is showing off his plumage, he uses his neck plumes and the neck area swells up. The female needs to wait for the male to be ready before approaching him. If not, there is a risk of an attack on the female. During the courtship period, there is a vibrant show of visual and auditory cues involved.

Once the male and female have paired up, they continue building their nest. Herons lay about three to seven eggs in this cycle. These are referred to as clutches. Clutch sizes depend on external factors such as latitude and temperature. Eggs are either blue or white in color, with some subspecies also laying brown eggs.

The heron eggs go through an incubation period which lasts a few weeks after which the chicks are hatched. Both the male and female heron parents are involved in bringing up the chicks. After two to three months, the chicks that survive grow feathers, become independent and leave the nest.

What is their conservation status?

Heron birds are categorized as Least Concern because of their common occurrence in wildlife. Herons are common water birds that are found across the world and there are more than 64 sub-species including birds referred to as egrets and bitterns. There are said to be over five million great blue herons (Ardea herodias) species in North America. There are also reported to be over two and a half million grey heron species in Eurasia and Africa. However, there are a few species of the heron that are more threatened.

Herons typically die from poaching and habitat destruction.

Heron Fun Facts

What do herons look like?


Herons are a type of coastal freshwater aquatic bird that have long legs, long beaks, and pointed bills. They also have long necks below the head. Herons can be of different colors such as blue, white, black, grey, and brown. One of the larger subspecies, the Goliath heron can be as tall as 60 in (152.4 cm).

Herons have an S-shaped curve to their necks which they can extend and retract during flight. They have long, strong legs which do not have feathers in the lower part of the tibia. Herons have thin toes where three toes point forwards and one toe points backward. They also have long, pointed bills which can be yellow, black, or brown in color. Herons have very large wings. The plumes on the wings are very soft and the plumage is usually black, white, grey, brown, or blue.

How cute are they?

Herons are tall, long-legged birds with pointed bills, large wings, and have different colors based on the species. Because of these characteristics, herons are a nice-looking bird species.

How do they communicate?

The heron call involves making loud croaking sounds like 'fraaank' apart from other loud noises during the courtship and breeding period. Mating occurs in the nesting colonies called heronries where these loud greeting calls can be heard after the pair has been decided. They make different sounds based on their feelings, such as showing dominance or nervousness.

How big is a heron?

Herons can be comparable to a 6ft (1.8 m) tall human being. They have a length of 36-54 in (91-137 cm) with a wingspan as large as 5.5-6.6 ft (1.6-2 m).  They are one of the larger species of birds.

How fast can a heron fly?

Herons have a massive wingspan and a light body. This means they are capable of flying anywhere in the range of 20-30 mph (32.1-48.2 kph).

How much does a heron weigh?

Herons have a light body in relation to their height and wingspan. They weigh in the range of 4.6-7.3 lb (2-3.3 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The herons do not have separate names for the male and female of the species. Their differences are more in terms of anatomy and size instead.

What would you call a baby heron?

Baby herons, similar to other baby birds, are called chicks or hatchlings. Some other names given to young birds are fledglings or nestlings.

What do they eat?

Herons are commonly found along coastlines or marshes, looking for food. They are very good at catching fish and other small insects and mammals. Herons stand very still waiting for their prey to approach them. After seeing the prey they move their head from side to side to ensure optimal positioning. As soon as they are close by, they attack the fish with their sharp bill and swallow the fish. Apart from fish, they also are known to attack mice, insects, and small mammals. An adult heron can eat up to 1 lb (0.5 kg) of fish per day.

Herons are relatively safe when it comes to themselves, but they are also prey to certain animals such as raccoons, hawks, eagles, minks, etc.

Are they dangerous?

Herons are tall and fast with a large wingspan. They have a razor-sharp bill to attack their prey. They are also known to be aggressive when under stress. Therefore they can be considered relatively dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

Herons, unlike other birds, are not domesticated. They are found in the wild. Because of their wild nature, large wingspan, speed, height, and temperament, they will not make good pets. They also have very sharp bills that can be dangerous to humans.

Did you know...

The word heron gets its origins in the English language in circa 1300 from Latin Aerius which means aerial or from Old French hairon, in the 12th century.

Another interesting heron birds fact is that the sacred ‘Bennu bird’ in Egyptian Art is often represented as the heron. The Bennu Bird is believed to represent the soul of Ra, the Supreme Sun God, from Egyptian mythology.

Types of heron

The heron has over 64 species. Some types of heron are the little blue heron, white heron, yellow-crowned night heron, black heron, green heron, tricolored heron, goliath heron, grey heron, grey egret, great blue heron, black-crowned night heron, little egret, Malayan night heron, and Indian pond heron.

Can herons swim?

Herons can swim although they often do not. They tend to fly low to pick up prey such as fish off the surface of the water. But they are also known to swim in deep waters when required, such as if there is a dead fish floating in the water. They swim by flapping their wings, dangling their legs, and stretching their neck forwards. Strong winds typically help them stay afloat.

What does it mean if you see a heron?

Herons have many symbols attached to them. For example, as we discussed above, Egyptian mythology represents the Heron as the Bennu Bird. In Greek mythology, the heron is considered a messenger from the gods.

In China, heron represents purity, patience, long life, and strength. In Africa, the heron is considered to be able to communicate with the Gods. In certain Native American cultures, a heron is considered a symbol of wisdom and good judgment. All in all, sighting a heron is good luck in many cultures.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our green heron facts and tricolored heron facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our heron coloring pages.

Written By
Team Kidadl

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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