The annual heronry count jointly organised by WWF-India in association with the Forest department in Thiruvananthapuram district has recorded more heronries that in the past.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Heron
- Importance of Heronry Counts
- Herons refer to a diverse group of approximately 60 species of long-legged wading birds.
- These birds are categorized within the family Ardeidae and belong to the order Ciconiiformes.
- The family Ardeidae also encompasses species commonly known as egrets, along with bitterns in the subfamily Botaurinae.
- Herons are found worldwide, with a higher concentration in tropical regions.
- They are known for their characteristic behavior of wading in shallow waters like pools, marshes, and swamps.
- Herons primarily feed by patiently wading in shallow waters, where they capture aquatic creatures such as frogs, fish, and other aquatic animals.
Breeding and Nesting:
- Herons build their nests using sticks, creating rough platforms in bushes or trees near water sources.
- These nests are often found in clusters, forming colonies known as heronries.
Importance of Heronry Counts:
- The practice of conducting heronry counts involves tallying the number of “apparently occupied nests” of herons, egrets, and similar colonial waterbirds.
- This counting method offers an effective and accurate way to assess the breeding population of waterbirds in a specific area.
- Given their role as top predators in aquatic ecosystems, monitoring heron populations can serve as an indicator of the overall health of both freshwater and brackish water ecosystems.
-Source: The Hindu