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Ardea cinerea

Ardea cinerea
Photo Information
Copyright: Thijs van Balen jr (Pentaxfriend) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 514 W: 24 N: 1888] (8048)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-02-11
Categories: Birds
Camera: Pentax K10D, Pentax fa*4,5 300mm if ed, Digital ISO 160, 67mm B+W Skylight KR1,5
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/1000 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-03-03 6:03
Viewed: 3916
Points: 32
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Ciconiiformes
Family: Ardeidae
Genus: Ardea
Species: A. cinerea
Binomial name: Ardea cinerea

The Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae, native throughout temperate Europe and Asia and also parts of Africa. It is resident in the milder south and west, but many birds retreat in winter from the ice in colder regions.

It is a large bird, standing 90-100 cm tall, with a 175-195 cm wingspan and a weight of 1-2 kg. Its plumage is largely grey above, and off-white below. Adults have a white head with a broad black supercilium and slender crest, while immatures have a dull grey head. It has a powerful pinkish-yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults. It has a slow flight, with its long neck retracted (S-shaped). This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, cranes and spoonbills, which extend their necks.

There are four subspecies:

*Ardea cinerea cinerea Linnaeus, 1758. Europe, Africa, western Asia.
*Ardea cinerea jouyi Clark, 1907. Eastern Asia.
*Ardea cinerea firasa Hartert, 1917. Madagascar.
*Ardea cinerea monicae Jouanin & Roux, 1963. Islands off Banc d'Arguin, Mauritania.
It is closely related and similar to the American Great Blue Heron, which differs in slightly larger size, and chestnut-brown flanks and thighs. The Australian White-faced Heron is often incorrectly called Grey Heron.

This species breeds in colonies in trees close to lakes, the sea-shore or other wetlands, although it will also nest in reed beds. It builds a bulky stick nest.

It feeds in shallow water, catching fish or frogs with its long bill. Herons will also take small mammals and birds. It will often wait motionless for prey, or slowly stalk its victim.

In the Netherlands, the grey heron has become a very common species in recent decades by moving into urban environments in great numbers. There, the herons hunt as they usually would but also make use of food discarded by humans, will visit feeding times in zoos to birds such as penguins and pelicans and some individuals even make use of people feeding them at their homes. All of this behaviour can be seen in the Dutch documentary Schoffies (Hoodlums).

The call is a loud croaking "fraaank".

"Sound and dutch notes ."

Der Graureiher (Ardea cinerea), auch Fischreiher genannt, ist eine Vogelart aus der Ordnung der Schreitvögel (Ciconiiformes).

Er ist in den milderen Regionen Europas und Asiens zu finden, außerdem im gesamten südlichen Afrika mit Ausnahme der südlichen Küstennamib. In überwiegend eisfreien Regionen ist er ein Standvogel, in den anderen Gebieten zieht er im Winter weiter südlich. In Deutschland ist er überwiegend ein Standvogel. In strengen Wintern, bei denen viele freie Wasserflächen einfrieren, sind die Verluste der Population sehr hoch.

Der Graureiher hält sich besonders gerne an seichten, durchwachsenen kleinen Tümpeln und Teichen auf, die möglichst umbuscht und umwaldet sind, z.B. Sölle in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

In neuster Zeit dringt er immer mehr in städtische Gebiete vor, wo er heute sogar oft in den Innenstädten beobachtet werden kann. Er bildet auch gemeinsame Gruppen mit Seidenreihern (wie zum Beispiel in der Poebene in Norditalien).

soccer, rousettus, uleko, fiyo, Argus, hester, Islander_ has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • viv Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 292 W: 3 N: 653] (3317)
  • [2008-03-03 6:13]

Hoi Thijs,
Heel mooie plaat van deze reiger scherp en gedetailleerd. Je ziet ze meer en meer, de reigers bedoel ik natuurlijk.


A very well composed, sharp, clear and detailed action pic of the subject.


hello Thijs
a great capture flying A. cinerea with great focus, composition and POV. timing and eye contact great as like notes. TFS, well done

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-03-03 6:38]

Hello Thijs,
Excellent in-flight capture of the Grey Heron in beautiful light and against the blue sky.
I really like the moment you've caught and details are very sharp.
TFS and regards, Ulla


Great image of this Heron in flight,
You captured it well with the eye contact and all,
Great job,


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-03-03 7:24]

Hallo Thijs,
Erg mooie opname van deze reiger in vlucht. Prachtig licht op de voorzijde van de vogel. Daardoor valt de focus precies op de goede plaats. Goede scherpte en compositie.

Hallo Buurman,

Deze staat er mooi scherp op met veel doortekening in de vleugels.
De kleuren zijn ook mooi natuurlijk.

groet Gert

Hi Thijs, The first question that came to my mind when I looked at this picture was, what was the lens used by Thijs. The reasons is, I have been trying to get a decent flight picture with my Sigma 50-500 with little success (too much of shake while panning and time taken to focus). When I saw that you used Pentax FA* 300 lens, I knew how you could make such a wonderful, sharp picture of a Heron in flight.
Full credit to you.

- Murali Santhanam

  • Great 
  • Scott Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 225 W: 0 N: 356] (1752)
  • [2008-03-03 8:11]


We commonly call this a Blue Heron, looks just the same to me, well captured inflight shot. Exposure is right, nice catch of the eye.


  • Great 
  • Dando Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 637 W: 32 N: 792] (3084)
  • [2008-03-03 8:12]

Nice capture, good timing and focus. Great work!



  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2008-03-03 8:39]

Hello Thijs,
Great capture, very good POV and pose. Very well done .TFS..

Hi Thijs

Beautiful flight picture. The lighting and POV is very nice,your framing is too good to hang on the wall.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-03-03 12:27]

Hello Thijs,
Superb in-flight of a Grey Heron. I like the wing position and the POV taken with excellent sharpness in a fine composition against a blue sky.
Thanks for sharing this fine image,

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2008-03-05 10:09]

Hi Thijs

This is an amazing in-flight shot. The captured pose is wonderful and it is pin sharp. It is such a close up shot as well



Hi Thijs,

Good in flight capture! Thanks,


If you went the other wing of me light and I went clear of a picture perfect times and how this version of the picture is perfect.

Calibration Check