Green Heron Bermuda
The green herons are migratory birds and are native to Bermuda. They are known to be visiting the island during their migration over the Atlantic even before the first human settlement took place in Bermuda. However they are nesting in Bermuda only since the year 2002. It has been noticed that there is an increasing tendency for them to stay back in the island during winter. Some even stay in Bermuda all through the year although in small groups. Their scientific name is Butorides virescens.
Green Herons are small water birds. An average adult's size is about 18 inches. They have green and white back, and cinnamon colored breast, and a greenish black cap. They feed on fish. The birds have long sharp bill and neck that are useful for catching fish.
You can often see them hanging from the low mangrove branches or mooring ropes trying to catch fish. The legs are short and yellow in color which turn reddish at the time of breeding. The overall body color is dark. Green Herons in Bermuda can be seen mostly in wetlands and lakes like the Mangrove Lake and Trott's Pond that are located in Hamilton Parish and east of Harrington Sound.
Mangrove Lake as the name suggests is fringed with thick red mangrove trees and is the largest pond in Bermuda spread over some 30 acres.
Photo: DC Gardens, flickr, cc by 2.0
Trott's Pond is the second largest pond with lots of red mangroves surrounding it and covers some 10 acres area. Both are brackish water ponds that are suitable for the green herons. Another place where you can find the green herons in Bermuda is at the Flatt's Inlet.
Green Herons are the only one of the two heron species that nest in Bermuda. There nests are usually made on the mangrove branches hanging low over the water surface. They lay 2 to 5 eggs. After hatching, the chick get ready to fly off in about 35 days.
It has been found that herons and egrets are colonial breeders which means that birds of several species often nest close to each other. The presence of nesting yellow-crowned night herons seems to encourage the green herons to stay and breed in Bermuda.
Green Herons are always under threats from the cats and rats. Since their nests are low and close to the water, rats and cats are known to climb the trees and prey on the chicks and eggs. Another threat is from the waves in the water that often destroy the eggs during rough weather conditions and hurricanes.
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