(noun) The scientific bird family classification that includes herons, egrets and bitterns. There are approximately 60-65 species in the Ardeidae family, though some classifications are disputed and several species may be regularly placed in the Egretta family instead.
Ardeidae birds are wading birds, and they are found in wetlands, marshes and riparian habitats worldwide, including river regions and lakeshores. While this bird family has a wide distribution, they are notably absent from Antarctica, the harshest Arctic regions and the driest deserts.
There is great variation in size and coloration among Ardeidae birds, but they do share a number of common characteristics, including:
- Colonial nesting habits, often in large rookeries
- Long, thin neck and legs and thick, powerful bills
- Flying with the neck contracted in an S shape
- Deliberate hunting behavior with a stabbing approach
Photo – Green Heron © kansasphoto
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