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About The Herons

Context:

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.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Heron
  2. Importance of Heronry Counts

About Heron:

  • 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.

Global Distribution:

  • 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.

Feeding Habits:

  • 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


 

May 2024
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