Difference Between Heron and Egret
Heron vs Egret
Herons and egrets are both long-legged, freshwater, coastal birds. They both belong to the same family Ardeidae and have a similar appearance. In the family Ardeidae, there are 64 different species which have been identified and are recognized. Some of these species are called bitterns or egrets in place of herons due to the differences in their appearance. The bitterns belong to a different genus within the family, but egrets are not a distinct group. The classification of herons and egrets is not very clear, and there are different opinions about the two genera Ardea and Egretta and which species should be classified into which genera.
Egrets are considered different from herons because egrets are mainly white, and they may or may not have decorative plumes. The word “egret” has been derived from the French word “aigrette” which means “plume feathers.” There are six different species of egrets which have these decorative plumes. These decorative plumes are breeding plumage and do not occur throughout the year; they occur only during the breeding parts of the year. Egrets are also smaller than the herons in size.
Herons are long-legged, long-necked, freshwater, coastal, non-swimming birds. One of their most distinguishing features is that they retract their necks while flying. This is due to the sixth vertebrae of the neck which is modified. The neck can retract and extend. It has been observed that the neck of daytime herons is longer than that of the nighttime herons. The bills of herons and egrets are harpoon-like and long. They can vary in size. Some have an extremely fine bill while some have thick bills. Herons and egrets are found in many colors. The color of the bare parts is generally yellow, brown, or black which may change during the breeding season. The plumage of the birds is mainly grey, white, black, blue, or brown, and sometimes they can be very striking and complex.
Herons and egrets are a family which are very cosmopolitan in distribution and are widespread. They are aquatic birds and prefer lowland areas, margins of rivers, lakes, ponds, and swamps. They are mostly found in the tropics. They are present in all the continents of the world except for Antarctica. They are present in almost all kinds of habitats except for very dry deserts, very cold regions like that of the Arctic, and on very high mountains.
Herons are carnivorous birds and prey on aquatic prey like fish, amphibians, reptiles, mollusks, insects, and crustaceans. Some of the species also feed on bird eggs and other smaller birds.
Herons and egrets are mainly colonial and monogamous in their behavior. They are also called “shitepokes” or “shilepokes” and “shypokes.”
Herons and egrets are both long-legged, freshwater, coastal birds. They both belong to the same family Ardeidae and have similar appearances. However, egrets are mainly white, and they may or may not have decorative plumes.
Egrets are always smaller in size than herons.
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