SWBC’s March/April Bird of the Month
GREEN HERON—Butorides virescens
By John Deitsch
The second smallest heron in Georgia, and the smallest in Gwinnett, the Green Heron stands tall at roughly 18 inches. The Green Heron’s key field marks are its green head, its dark rufous neck, its scaly green back, and its bright yellow legs. It has a shaggy crest, but it is rarely seen.
Immature birds have the same color scheme as adults, but they have white hair on their heads.
The Green Herons’ calls are really quite dreadful, a mixture of shrieks and barks. When nervous they make a series of kuk, kuk, kuk notes.
Green Herons spend the summer and breed in Gwinnett, but depart for warmer regions in winter. They inhabit wooded ponds and lakes, wetlands, creeks, and sometimes koi ponds.
Green Herons usually nest alone, unlike most herons and egrets which nest in colonies. Their nests are usually in dense bushes or trees over the water.