OK today's "What I've learnt today" is a bit of an odd one. While walking in Hillsborough Forest Park today I spotted a bird in the water. Usually there are only ducks, swans and seagulls: this bird was none of these. It looked like a heron, then I thought was I right incalling it a heron? Is it a crane? Is there any difference between a heron and a crane? Well a google search taught me a little:
The main difference can be seen in structure and behavior. A heron (family Ardeidae, genus Ardea) has a colied neck and straight, dagger-like bills used to capture their prey quickly in one swoop. Other members of this famliy include egrets and bitterns. The most widespread and frequently seen heron is the Great Blue Heron. They usually migrate in small flocks but are most commonly seen singly at a stream or pond edge or fields and meadows foraging for food. They tend to eat fish or small mammals. At a length of 46 inches, it is also the largest of the heron family.
The crane (family Rallidae, genus Grus) is close in size to the heron. They are large and tend to fly and search for food in flocks. The most famous of cranes, the whooping crane, is actually rather rare with only about 200 existing in the wild. Living in small family groups year round, they nest in freshwater marshes near tree lines and winter in saltmarshes. This is one of the tallest birds in the US with a height of 52 + inches. A more common crane is the sandhill crane. Grey in color with a red patch around their eyes, it is slightly smaller than the whooping crane. The sandhill crane can be mistaken for the great blue heron. Cranes perform a large, elaborate dance during courtship that is not done by any other species. The crane's body differ in that the bill is shorter nad their neck is minus the spring like crook. Walking slowly in a rolling stroll and their neck held out straight, the crane is very different in comparison to the reserved heron.
Sourced from answerbag.com
A Blue Heron
One way to remember the difference between a crane and a heron is, "Cranes eat grains, herons eat herrings." Well, they might not really eat herrings, which are marine fish, but it helps to remember that they are fish eaters!
Sourced from easttennesseewildflowers.com
A Wattled Crane
I'm assuming from this information that the bird I saw today was a heron. Boring eh?