The Green Heron

Welcome to my webpage about the quirky yet lovable green heron! This small and stealthy heron can be found in much of the United States during the summer months, yet many people have never seen or even heard of it! Learn about the very fascinating and unique qualities that make the green heron such a successful hunter, hider, and escape artist by checking out the rest of my site.

This page is part of a larger project, so to check out lots of other great organisms, go to!


Classification Information for Butorides virescens:

Domain: Eukarya - All organisms with eukaryotic cells (cells with membrane bound organelles) fall in this domain.

Kingdom: Animalia - All animals are multicellular
heterotrophic organisms that lack cell walls. Animals require oxygen and produce carbon dioxide through cellular respiration and the decomposition of their food. Most animals also have specialized ways of obtaining food, since they can’t produce their own like plants do. Some examples of such adaptations include muscle cells used for locomotion, nervous systems with sensory organs, and an alimentary canal or digestive tract.

Phylum: Chordata - Most animals in this phylum are vertebrates, like Butoride virescens, and all have a notochord as their chief structural support at some stage in their development. These animals also have a tubular nerve cord (or spinal cord), pharyngeal slits or clefts, and a muscular post-anal tail at some point in their development.

 Class: Reptilia (Aves) - Birds are reptiles! They have been classified because evidence has shown a very close evolutionary history between Reptilia and (formally) Aves. In fact, alligators and crocodiles are more closely related to birds than they are other reptiles.  An article recently published in Science demonstrated that air flows in one direction as it loops through the lungs of alligators, just as it does in birds. This breathing method may have helped the dinosaurs' ancestors dominate Earth after the planet's worst mass extinction 251 million years ago. Aside from the similarities in lungs and breathing, birds have also been placed
in Reptilia because they have modified scales (feathers) and
lay eggs with a hard desiccation- proof shell.

Order: Ciconiiformes - This class includes medium to large wading birds, including storks, herons, ibises, and spoonbills. These birds have become well adapted to wading in shallow water with their long legs, and many also have specialized bills and pectinate toes.

Family: Ardeidae - Herons, egrets, bitterns, and relatives belong to this group. Characteristic of this family are their long legs, long necks, and spear-like bills. They also have long toes, with the middle being pectinate. To a phylogenetic tree that incorporates 15 different birds from this family click here.

Genus: Butorides - This is the genus for small herons that nest on platforms of reeds or twigs and have a loud, booming call. They are also known to and stand still at the water's edge and wait to ambush prey.  Butorides herons mainly eat small fish, frogs and aquatic insects. They sometimes drop food on the water's surface to attract fish.

Species: Butorides virescens - The Green Heron! click on the navigation bars to learn much more!


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