Green heron

(Butorides virescens)




Facts about this animal

The Green heron is a rather small heron, with a body length of 35-48 cm and a wingspan of 52-60 cm. It has a long, slender bill and neck. The back and wings are greyish-green. The sides of the neck are chestnut-brown, the upper part of the head (feathers of the hind head elongated and erectile) and nape are dark green. Underparts are greyish-white, with grey-brown spots or stripes on the lower neck and breast. The bill is black above and yellow beneath. The feet and legs are greenish-yellow. The tail is very short, bluish green above and greyish-white below. The sexes are alike, but females are a bit smaller.

Green heron nests are built in trees, thickets, or occasionally, in reeds or cattails in a marsh or in an orchard. Three to six eggs are laid, which take about three weeks to hatch and both parents incubate the eggs. The chicks are fed regurgitated food by both parents. The chicks fledge in about three weeks but are hopping around the nest and snapping at insects when they are two weeks old.

Did you know?
that green herons perch on branches in or along the water and crouch to catch fish, invertebrates, insects, frogs, and other small animals, with his neck coiled and ready to strike. Whenever something gets within reach the head and bill will propel forward into the prey.


Class AVES
Suborder ARDEAE
Name (Scientific) Butorides virescens
Name (English) Green heron
Name (French) Héron vert
Name (German) Grünreiher
Name (Spanish) Garcita verde
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Len Blumin



Range From Northern South America to Southern Canada
Habitat Swamps, creeks, streams, marshes, ponds, lake edges, salt marshes, coastal areas
Wild population Still common and widespread (Red List IUCN 2011).
Zoo population 35 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Green heron


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service

Why do zoos keep this animal

The green heron is not a threatened species, and zoos do not operate coordinated ex situ breeding programmes. It is mainly kept for educational  purposes and for promoting wetland conservation.