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Bird Gallery

Green Heron

Green Heron
Green Heron

© Wayne Nicholas

Butorides virescens

Family: (Ardeidae) Herons, Egrets and Bitterns

Preferred Habitat: Woodland streams, ponds, marshes

Seasonal Occurrence: Abundant March through October; occasional in winter

Notes: Compared with most herons, Green Herons are short and stocky with relatively short legs and thick necks that are often drawn up against their bodies. Their back is a deep iridescent green that often appears dark. They have a rich chestnut face and neck and a white throat. Their two-toned bill is dark above and yellow-green below. Juveniles are browner, with pale streaking on the neck and spots on the wings.

The Green Heron is one of the world’s few tool-using bird species. It uses a variety of baits and lures, including bread crusts, insects, earthworms, twigs, and feathers to entice small fish by dropping them on the surface of the water. Green Herons can be observed along creeks, bayous, marshes, ponds and ditches all over the city. Unlike most herons, the Green Heron nests singly rather than communally. Houston Audubon staff recently noticed a pair of Green Herons on a nest in the vegetation above the bayou at the Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center.