The Grey Heron is a tall wading bird with a long neck and long legs. When a Grey Heron flies, it curves its wings into a ‘M’ shape and when it hunts for food in water, it curves its long neck into a ‘S’ shape.
The Grey Heron makes long deliberate strides when it wades through shallow water looking for prey. When it has found a suitable spot to hunt in, it can stand very still for a long time not making a sound. If it sees prey, it moves very slowly towards it so not to be detected and then very quickly stabs it with its beak. The Grey Heron uses patience, stealth and speed to catch its prey.
The Grey Heron can stab a fish several times before it eats it and then it usually swallows the fish head first and whole. It does this so that the spines or fins of the fish don’t get stuck in its throat. If a Grey Heron catches a large fish, it takes it on land and breaks it into small pieces with its beak and then eats it. Grey Herons like to eat fish such as roach, perch, sticklebacks and goldfish taken from garden ponds. If a Grey Heron lives near the coast, it will eat eels and crabs too.
Grey Herons usually hunt for fish in water, but sometimes they hunt close to water to find frogs or water voles. Grey Herons may hunt for prey in damp fields where they can find mice, rats, insects and even small birds and small rabbits. After the Grey Heron has caught its prey, it likes to find a quiet spot near water to enjoy its meal.