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Archive for August 14, 2020

Green Herons’ Versatile Necks

Most of the time Green Herons appear to be stout, compact herons.  When perched or stalking, they tuck their neck into the contours of their body and appear quite small (see inset).  Only when threatened or when striking prey is the true length of a Green Heron’s neck revealed.  If startled, a Green Heron will stretch its neck way out, most likely in order to appear large and formidable to a potential predator.  When hunting for prey, it can extend its neck an inordinate distance (see photo). A specialized vertebra in their neck enables them to strike at prey with a tremendous amount of force.  Some scientists compare the Green Heron’s extendible neck to that of certain dinosaurs, from which they are thought to have evolved.

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