Herons, egrets and bitterns are sometimes referred to as ‘Waders’. They are predators who will hunt about anything they think they can swallow. Some, like the Great Blue Heron and the Great Egret, are stealth, or ambush hunters. Others, like the Snowy and Reddish Egrets, are active hunters and flush prey with their movement and capture these items as they scurry out of one hiding place in search of another.
Normally a very reclusive bird, these American Bittern's were exceptionally cooperative with me. If it senses it has been seen, the this bird becomes motionless, with its bill pointed upward, causing it to blend into the reeds. It even sways if the wind is blowing the reeds. The first two images in this set illustrate this behavior.
The Black-Crowned Night-Heron is found throughout a large part of the world, except in the coldest regions. Generally an 'ambush' predator, these birds sit motionless for long periods and strike out like a flash when prey items come within range.
The Great Egret is a bird of world wide distribution. Depending on where it is in encountered, it is also known as the Great White Egret, Common Egret, White Heron, or in past times, the Great White Heron.
The Least Bittern is the smallest heron found in the Americas. In the USA, with the exception of the Lower Colorado River Valley, parts of the Gulf coast and Southern Florida, these birds are only found in breeding season or in migration.
The Little Blue Heron, until recently, breeds from the Gulf states of the USA through Central America and the Caribbean south to Peru and Uruguay. In the past few years (since the 1980's) it has been found year round here in San Diego.
The Reddish Egret, like its cousin the Little Blue Heron, has historically been found in Central America, The Bahamas, the Caribbean, the Gulf Coast of the United States, and Mexico. Sightings in San Diego have become regular in the past few years. As hunters, they can be seen 'dancing' over the shallow waters to scare prey into the open.