Grey Herons

Grey Heron

The Grey Heron, a large wading bird with long legs and a sharp beak, is a common sight in Ireland's wetlands and rivers. It is a solitary hunter, preying on fish, frogs, and small mammals.


The Grey Heron is a large wading bird that is easily recognised by its long beak and grey, white and black plumage. It has long legs and a distinctive 'S' shaped neck, which it often coils in flight. Its wings are broad and rounded, and it has a long, pointed tail.

What they eat:

Grey Herons are carnivores and feed on a variety of prey including fish, frogs, small mammals, and insects. They are known to hunt alone or in groups and are also known to steal food from other birds.


Grey Herons are found near water sources, such as rivers, lakes, and estuaries. They are found across Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, preferring marshy areas or shallow water with plenty of vegetation.

Size and Wingspan:

Grey Herons are one of the largest wading birds in Europe, standing up to 1 metre tall with a wingspan of up to 1.8 metres. They can weigh up to 2 kg.

Male/Female Difference:

Males and females look similar, with males being slightly larger than females. During breeding season, males may display brighter plumage and make courtship displays.

Where to find:

Grey Herons are found throughout Ireland, with populations in both rural and urban areas. They are often seen in parks, gardens, and along the coast.

What months can be found in Ireland:

Grey Herons can be found in Ireland all year round, although they may be more abundant during the winter months when migratory populations arrive.

Interesting Note:

Grey Herons are known for their 'stillness' – they can remain motionless for long periods of time before striking at their prey. They are also known for their unique nesting behaviour, building large stick nests in trees or on cliffs, often in large groups called 'heronries'.

Other Birds of Ireland...

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