Predator and Prey Relationships


 EAT: Green herons are important predators of fish and invertebrates in the aquatic ecosystems where they live. They have been known to eat everything from crabs, crayfish, prawns, snakes, lizards, rodents, toads and frogs to leeches, worms, dragonflies, damselflies, water bugs, tadpoles and grasshoppers. Some of the many fish species that they eat include minnows, sunfish, catfish, perch and eels.

(OR) BE EATEN: Herons themselves are subject to a few predators of their own.
Heron eggs are vulnerable to snakes, crows, and common grackles (similar to blackbirds, but larger with much longer tail feathers). Nestlings sometimes get eaten by raccoons and adult herons are occasionally preyed upon by large birds of prey, such as eagles and falcons.
 In the Florida Everglades, where some green herons live year round, they can also fall victim to the jaws of American alligators.

To see a schematic of the green heron in its ecosystem, click on the following link:
The Green Heron in its Ecosystem.pdf





UNIQUE DEFENSES: The green heron has earned itself a few comical and vulgar nicknames, such as “chalk-line” and “shite-poke,” through the years because of the unique way it flees danger. If a green heron is subject to a surprise attack or is startled, it will shoot excrement at the creeping predator, aiming to temporarily blind it as it flies off. If you look closely enough you can actually see the white trail shooting out from the heron in the photo below.