Herons are medium to large long-legged, long-necked wading birds of the family Ardeidae, which also includes the egrets and bitterns. Within the family Ardeidae, all members of the genera, Botaurus and Ixobrychus are classed as bitterns, not herons, however the species sometimes known as egrets are simply white-coloured herons with decorative plumes, and not a biologically distinct group (although one could also define true Egrets as the members of genus Egretta). The classification of the individual heron species is fraught with difficulty, and there is still no clear consensus about the correct placement of many species into either of the two major genera, Ardea and Egretta. The Boatbill is sometimes classed as a heron, and sometimes given its own family Cochlearidae. Although herons resemble other families, such as the storks, ibises and spoonbills, unlike the latter groups, herons fly with their necks retracted, not outstretched.







 
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Herons typically feed in shallow water or marshes, taking fish, frogs or small birds and mammals. In February 2005 the Canadian scientist Dr Louis Lefebvre announced a method of measuring avian IQ in terms of their innovation in feeding habits. Herons were named among the most intelligent birds based on this scale.

Above Pictures From The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service





















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