Green Heron (Butorides virescens) Photo Credit: Ted Beringer
The Green heron is found throughout the eastern United States but in Kansas often breeds in the eastern to predominantly southeastern portion of the state. It is a short stocky bird with a neck that is often held close to its body. When startled, however, the neck can extend in length significantly and a short dark crest is raised to signify alarm. Even its neck feathers can be raised. Adults have glossy feathers with a green sheen on its back and wings that is most obvious in bright light from certain angles. Its neck feathers are chestnut or rusty in color with grey underparts and relatively short orange legs. Green Herons live around wooded ponds, marshes, rivers, creeks, reservoirs, and estuaries where they sit motionless near the water’s edge waiting for the arrival of a small fish to swim near enough to capture with its stout dark beak. They have been seen baiting fish with insects or anything that seems to work. While fish are their main dietary staple, their diet also includes crustaceans, frogs, insects, and even small rodents.