Saturday, April 10, 2010

Heron

This is a heron, although I am having a little difficulty identifying exactly what type of heron it is. There are 15 species of herons in Costa Rica, most of which are permanent residents, although some of them are North American herons who fly south to Costa Rica for the winter.

This looks like a green backed heron, except green backed herons and green herons have maroon necks, and it does not have a maroon neck. Maybe it is a juvenile and they do not develop their maroon neck until adulthood. I do not consider this a very attractive heron, although it s beady red eyes are rather striking.

The reason Costa Rica has such diversity of wildlife, including more bird species than the USA and Canada combined, is that its location between North and South America has placed it in migratory range for both North and South America. Its lush habitat also provides a welcome environment for birds.

Egrets have an unusual breeding behavior. They will lay more eggs than the number of chicks they can feed during normal times. If food is especially abundant, all of the chicks will survive. If food is not unusually plentiful, the smaller chicks will not be able to compete for food with the larger, more aggressive chicks in the nest. The larger chicks will even attack a smaller sibling, which is a behavior biologists call siblicide. The eggs are laid one or two days apart, so it is the youngest chick that most often does not make it.

This week we are showing photos of Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia on Viva la Voyage, our travel photo site.

9 comments:

brattcat said...

Siblicide, eh? Now that's given me something to chew on this weekend.

Lois said...

I think he is attractive in his own kind of way. He really does have beautiful eyes!

Sharon said...

Sometimes nature can be down right cruel! You certainly got a wonderful portrait of this fellow.

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

very interesting and great bird image

Jarart said...

Whatever kind it is, you got a nice picture of it.

Saretta said...

Interesting bird behavious info. I have to agree that this heron is not the spiffiest I have ever seen...

glenda said...

Siblicide. Wow never heard that one. Nature is not gentle.

Jilly said...

how beautiful he is. Siblicide - my goodness, I'd not heard that used before.

Your mangroves were astounding. I remember the mangroves in Cairns but nothing like this.

JM said...

Yes, I remember these fellows (or very similar ones)!

As to the previous mangrove shots, well, I just love to explore this habitat! Some years ago I had a brackish water tank at home, mainly with puffers.

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