Standing alone at the water’s edge or on a branch just above the water, the green heron waits patiently for its prey before driving its head into the water and catching its target in its pincer-like bill (7). Feeding primarily on fish, the green heron is one of very few tool-using bird species and uses a variety of baits and lures, including insects, earthworms, twigs or feathers, to entice fish to where it can grab them (3) (5). This versatile, intelligent predator has a rather large bill for its size and, as such, can feed on a variety of other large prey, including frogs, reptiles, small mammals and crustaceans. It feeds by day and night in shallow waters, often as little as five centimetres deep, and tends to walk between hunting sites in a slow, methodical, deliberate fashion with the body crouched (3).
Nesting alone or in loose groups, the green heron begins breeding with the male bird displaying to spectating females and defending a territory that will eventually become the nesting site (3). Once paired up, the male bird selects the nest site and collects material as the female bird constructs the nest. A clutch of 2 to 5 eggs is laid and then incubated for around 19 to 25 days (2) (3). The chicks are fed regurgitated food by both adult birds and begin hopping around the nest and snapping at insects when they are just two weeks old, before fledging at around 3 weeks (4). As is typical of many heron species, after the breeding season the green heron tends to wander across its range in search of favourable foraging sites. Some birds may not travel far, while others may move greater distances, with some nomadic individuals even occasionally turning up as far afield as Western Europe (5).