Why does the heron stand on one leg? Habitat and lifestyle features of birds
Herons are large birds that live near lakes, rivers and other bodies of water. Often they are standing on one leg, and this is completely untrue. In this position, they can be quite a long time. But why do they need it? Let's find out more about these amazing birds, and at the same time find out why the herons stand on one leg.
Who are the herons?
The appearance of these birds is something like storks, which is not surprising. According to the classification, they belong to the family of Tsaplevyh and the order of Ciconiiformes. Their closest relatives are croaks, bitters and agami.
Birds of a heron are very diverse in color and size. A characteristic feature of all members of the genus is a long cone-shaped beak, thin long legs and elongated necks, which the animals constantly bend with a hook.Many species have a tuft of feathers on their nape, protruding upward. In flight, their neck remains curved, so birds are easy to distinguish from storks and cranes.
The herons are quite large, but there are also small representatives. For example, the average white, yellow-yielding and shad of a heron reach only from 45 to 70 cm in height. The largest heron is a giant heron, up to 160 cm high and with a wingspan of up to 230 cm.
So why does the heron stand on one leg
Those lucky enough to watch these secretive birds could notice their fancy stance on one leg. It would seem that such a posture is completely uncomfortable. However, the bird can stay in it for hours without losing its balance.
There is no consensus as to why the heron stands on one leg. There are several theories about this. The basic version says that this way the bird warms up. She usually spends a lot of time in reservoirs whose temperature is not always favorable. Legs lacking feathers freeze quickly, and in order to maintain normal blood circulation in at least one limb, the bird presses it under itself. After some time, it changes their position.
To the question of why the heron is standing on one leg, there is another answer. Perhaps she needed this for hunting. Tracking a prey to a bird is important for its invisibility. Having pressed one limb under itself, it is disguised as a branch of a tree or a bush, without causing suspicion of its prey. In addition, the bird acts much more efficiently. She does not wait until the prey gets too close, but when she sees her from a distance she takes a big step and immediately grabs her with her beak. If both legs were down, the reaction would be much slower.
Herons are common on all continents except Antarctica, as well as on some islands. The basis of their food is small inhabitants of reservoirs, so the main condition for their settlement is the presence of water.
Birds are not found in the ice-covered polar regions, as well as dried up deserts. The favorite places for them are swamps, reed and mangroves, flood meadows, slow flowing rivers and small lakes. In large open water they live extremely rarely.
Extensive habitat of a large white, red, big blue, gigantic, black-necked heron. A very limited area of heron litter.She lives only in Tasmania and northeastern Australia. The Madagascar heron lives on the island of the same name; the white-bellied lives only in the foothills of the Himalayas and some parts of Asia.
In nature, herons prefer to live alone, joining groups only during the nesting season or on reservoirs rich in food. The main food for them is fish. Birds also feed on frogs, small rodents, lizards, snakes, and clams.
Most of their lives they spend near the water, but they cannot swim and dive. Herons do not have the oil gland, like waterfowl, that would allow them to lubricate their feathers with water-repellent grease. Instead, there is a brittle down on their breasts, with a crumb of which they cover feathers. But it does not protect against getting wet.
Year-round in one place live only tropical species. Herons living in temperate and subtropical areas fly away for the winter. From the north of Eurasia, they move to the south of the continent or to Africa, and those that live in North America fly to South America. These birds maintain their isolation even during their journey and never form a wedge or flock.
The breeding season at them comes at the beginning of spring.Herons make a pair for one season and do not change their partner until next year. Their life expectancy is different. Depending on the species, they live from 10 to 23 years.