The green heron (Butorides virescens) looks dark at distance. However, closer and in good light this short, stocky heron is beautifully colored – green on the back and chestnut on the breast and throat. A juvenile green heron, like the pictured bird, is browner than the adult with buffy marking on the wings while the sides of its face, neck and breast are heavily streaked. This picture was taken at Ashland Pond (Ashland OR) on an overcast day.
Green herons are one of the few birds that use “tools”. (Humans, as I was taught years ago, are not the only species utilizing tools.) The green heron will place feathers, twigs, insects and other objects on the surface of the water. When an unwary fish comes to investigate, the green heron quickly captures its curious prey by quickly grasping or spearing with its bill.
The diet of a green heron is composed primarily of fish, however they will take invertebrates and some small mammals.