Status: Common resident at wetlands, estuaries and along rivers throughout Ireland.
Conservation Concern: Green-listed in Ireland. The European population is considered to be Secure.
Identification: The grey plumage and stature of Grey Herons make them unmistakable. It is a very familiar species being widely distributed and a year-round resident in Ireland. Single birds are often flushed when posed motionlessly at the edge of water bodies, coiled ready to strike out at unsuspecting prey with its formidable spear-like bill. It feeds along the edge of a wide range of wetland habitats from coastal waters and estuaries to loughs, streams and marshy ground. They are usually encountered as solitary birds and sometimes as a pairs, although if observing breeding colonies - heronries - numbers can be in the 50s.
Similar Species: None in Ireland.
Call: Loud harsh croaking often given in flight.
Diet: Fish, amphibians, small mammals, insects and reptiles.
Breeding: Clutch: 3-4 eggs (rarely 2 broods). Incubation: 27-29 days. Fledging: 50-55 days (Altricial). Age of first breeding: 2 years. Grey Herons breed in large trees and can form large heronries, some of which have been in use for over 100 years.
Wintering: Grey Herons are found in the same wetland habitats during the winter as in the breeding season. Birds breeding in Ireland are thought to be sedentary and birds from Britain and even Scandinavia join our resident population for the winter.
Where to See: Wetlands around the whole country.
Monitored by: Irish Wetland Bird Survey.