Recently Charlene and I spent 10 days vacationing in Scotland. While there, I did some birding and wanted to share some of the birds I photographed on the trip. In this post I would like to show a comparison with our Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) and the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) found in Scotland and other locations in Great Britain and Europe and Asia.
First are two photos of a Grey Heron taken on May 30th at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh Scotland
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh Scotland
a close-up of its head
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
And now here are two shots of Great Blue Herons taken here in the San Francisco Bay area. Note the brown area on the wing.
Great Blue Heron at Caesar Chavez Park in Berkeley CA
Male Great Blue Heron at Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA
from Wikipedia summarizing the physical differences…
The Great Blue Heron
It is the largest North American heron and, among all extant herons, it is surpassed only by the Goliath heron (Ardea goliath) and the white-bellied heron (Ardea insignis). It has head-to-tail length of 91–137 cm (36–54 in), a wingspan of 167–201 cm (66–79 in), a height of 115–138 cm (45–54 in), and a weight of 1.82–3.6 kg (4.0–7.9 lb)“
“The great blue heron is replaced in the Old World by the very similar grey heron (Ardea cinerea), which differs in being somewhat smaller (90–98 cm (35–39 in)), with a pale gray neck and legs, lacking the browner colors that great blue heron has there. The grey heron (which occupies the same ecological niche in Eurasia as the great blue heron) has very similar plumage but has a solidly soft-gray neck.”
The Grey Heron
It is a large bird, standing up to 100 cm (39 in) tall and measuring 84–102 cm (33–40 in) long with a 155–195 cm (61–77 in) wingspan. The body weight can range from 1.02–2.08 kg (2.2–4.6 lb). Its plumage is largely grey above, and off-white below. Adults have a white head with a broad black supercilium and slender crest, while immatures have a dull grey head. It has a powerful, pinkish-yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults. It has a slow flight, with its long neck retracted (S-shaped)
So there you have it. The Grey Heron is a little smaller, solidly soft-gray neck, and lacks the brown areas on the wings and legs.
If you want to see the complete series of the Grey Heron and the rest of the birds photographed on the trip, you can check them out at this page…