Herons, Storks and Flamingos



This is a large group of medium to large-sized wading birds. They live aquatic but mostly also terrestrial. Included are Bitterns which are more aquatic and much more seclusive than the majority of this group. They have medium to large legs and feet are not webbed.




Bitterns are aquatic small to medium-sized birds, that breed in reed zones, overgrown reedy ponds, ditches, marshes and riversides. They feed mainly on fish, frogs and insects. Breeds on platforms.


Egrets and Herons - Ardeidae


Egrets and Herons are small to large-sized wading birds. One of their main identification feature are the retracted long neck in flight and also when standing. Mostly feed on fish.


Storks - Ciconiidae


Storks are large-sized wading birds with long legs, large feed (without webbs), long neck and large, long and pointed bill. Feed on frogs, amphibians, insects, snakes, fish, meat (if provided by people).


Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Grey Herron


Bitterns, Herons, Storks, Ibises and Flamingos in the Western Palearctic


The species in the following list are distributed across the entire region. Most of them are summer visitors, wintering in Africa, some are rare vagrants appearing only in winter in Europe:

  • Great Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)
  • American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) rare American vagrant
  • Little Bittern (ixobrychus minutus)
  • Night Heron - Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nyctircorax)
  • Striated Heron (Butorides striata)
  • Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
  • Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralliodes)
  • Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
  • (Western) Reef Egret (Egretta gularis)
  • Great Egret (Casmerodius albus)
  • Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) - endemic to central Europe
  • Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
  • White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
  • Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
  • Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
  • (Northern) Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita)
  • (Greater) Flamingo (Phoenicpterus roseus) - Southern Spain, Southern France, the Netherlands, Germany, western and eastern Mediterranean


Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Grey Heron
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Grey Heron preparing for flight
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Grey Heron in flight