Butorides is a genus of small herons. It contains three similar species, the Green Heron or Green-backed Heron, Butorides virescens, the Dwarf Bittern (Butorides sturmii), and the Striated Heron, Butorides striatus. A fossil species, Butorides validipes, is known from the Early Pleistocene of Florida. Adults of both extant species are about 44 cm long, and have a blue-black back and wings, a black cap and short yellow legs. Juveniles are browner above and streaked below, and have greenish-yellow legs. The species have different underpart colours, chestnut with a white line down the front in Green Heron, and white or grey in Striated. Both breed in small wetlands on a platform of sticks often in shrubs or trees, sometimes on the ground. Butorides herons stand still at the water’s edge and wait to ambush prey. They mainly eat small fish, frogs and aquatic insects. They sometimes drop food on the water’s surface to attract fish.
The striated Heron is greenish grey, neck is short, and crown is very dark green with a long crest of the same colour, almost black. Rear neck and sides are chestnut brown. Upperparts are dark green. Underparts are pale grey, throat and chest are white.
Bill is long and powerful, with black upper mandible, and yellow lower mandible. Legs and feet are pale yellow to orange. Face is greenish.
Adults and young have a partial web between central and external toe, allowing them to swim.
Juvenile is brownish, with well striated neck, and with whitish and buffy spots on upper wings. Throat, neck and chest are streaked with brown. Legs are green.
Listen to the sound of Striated Heron
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
|wingspan min.:||62||cm||wingspan max.:||68||cm|
|size min.:||40||cm||size max.:||45||cm|
|incubation min.:||21||days||incubation max.:||25||days|
|fledging min.:||34||days||fledging max.:||25||days|
If the family is disturbed or threatened, the young may leave the nest and perch in branches, in order to confuse a predator.
Video Striated Heron
copyright: P. de Groot Boersma
Striated Heron is generally resident in its range. It usually fishes at dusk and during the night, but also sometimes during the day foraging into the marsh dense vegetation. But it sometimes fishes during the day, in urban areas, where we can see it walking slowly on the shore of a pond, or perched on a pier or a boat. We often meet it in a compact position, in egg-shaped posture, perched on a branch above water, looking intentionally elsewhere.
Its plumage is a very good camouflage. It usually hunts under cover, rarely in open area, waiting from a elevated position to strike quickly, it also may jump, dive or swim after its prey. Or it stirs up and scrapes the water surface to attract prey by movement. But the most stunning fact is that it knows how to attract them. It captures an insect and drops it to the surface, which of course, attracts fish or other preys. It also catches flying insects.