Birds of Colombia

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GREAT BLUE HERON

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GARZÓN AZUL

GREAT BLUE HERON with a bill that turns orange at breeding season 
GARZÓN AZUL cuyo pico se torna anaranjado en Época de reproducción

Ardea herodias

This large heron is 97 to 137 cm (3.2 to 4.5 feet) tall. It has a blue-gray plumage, chestnut and black tones, and very long legs with rusty-red thighs and S-shaped neck. They look enormous in flight with its 6-ft wingspan. They reach a speed of 30 mph. They display a tuff of feathers on its chest and back. There are also long black plumes above their eyes. It has a yellowish bill that is long, straight and sharp. The bill turns orange at the breeding season. It often stands with its head hunched back resting onto its shoulders. They adapt easily in different environments. They are inhabitants of ponds, marshes, lakes, rivers, and salt-water shores. While they walk slowly or stand motionless patiently waiting for the prey to pass. In this way, they use their long neck and sharp bill to capture fish, shrimp, crabs and frogs. They also take aquatic insects and a large variety of animals such as mice, turtles, voles, snakes, and water birds. The blue heron swallows its prey as a whole. The nest is built in low shrubs by the female with material collected by the male. The clutch consists of 2 to 7 pale-blue eggs that both parents incubate up to 30 days.

Esta ave mide entre 97 a 137 cm de estatura. Posee un plumaje azul-grisoso, con tonos castaño y negro. Tiene patas muy largas con muslos color ladrillo. Su larga nuca tiene forma de S. Tiene un imponente vuelo con su envergadura de alas que alcanza a los 2 metros. Puede volar hasta 50 km por hora. Tiene un moño de plumas que salen de su pecho y espaldar. También tiene plumas negras y largas que salen de la parte superior del área ocular. Tiene un pico amarillo, largo y puntudo que se torna anaranjado en la época de reproducción. A menudo se les ve con su cabeza descansando sobre sus hombros. Se adaptan fácilmente en diferentes ambientes. Habitan alrededor de lagos, pantanos, cienágas, a lo largo de ríos y aun en ambientes salobres. Al cazar permanecen inmóviles en el agua esperando su presa que atrapa velozmente con su largo y filudo pico. Sus presas incluyen peces, camarones, ranas, insectos acuáticos, ratones, tortugas y pájaros playeros. Esta ave se traga la presa entera que a veces se atranca en su larga nuca y causa su muerte. La hembra construye el nido con material recogido por el macho. La postura tiene de 2 a 7 huevos de color azul pálido que incuba durante 30 dias.

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