ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Striated Heron

Updated on January 24, 2016
Blond Logic profile image

Living on a farm in Brazil, I've gained local in-depth knowledge of food, plants, and traditions, which I share through my articles.

Striated heron
Striated heron | Source

Butorides striata

No movement is detected until a rapid stab at the water breaks the surface and a small fish is pulled out. This skilled and patient fisherman has caught another.

One of our most frequent visitors to our lakes here at our home in Brazil, is the striated heron. No matter what time of day or night, there always seems to be at least a few. These will either be perched on one of our tilapia cages, waiting at the water's edge, or wading through the shallows.

We welcome them as they take out the smaller fish that are competing for the food of the tilapia we are rearing.The heron will eat small fish, prawns, frogs and insects. This varied diet is possibly one of the reasons why this bird thrives and other species with more specialized diets tend to suffer and decline in numbers.

If the heron wishes to look threatening to others it will open its wings and lengthen its neck. When it is on the move from one spot to the other, it will often stay crouched down and run. I assume this is to keep the fish from seeing them.

Photos by Fotografipro. All rights reserved

Close up of a Striated Heron
Close up of a Striated Heron | Source
A Striated Heron looking for a fish
A Striated Heron looking for a fish | Source

Getting Up Close to Herons

To say that these herons are tame is a mistake, they are wild birds. What I will say is that they have become accustom to our movements, our fish feeding times, and they make the most of this knowledge. They know that we don't chase them or make sudden movements to disturb them. It is this trust that has allowed my husband to get these photos.

I have moved on a boat to within 3 feet of one who was trying to eat a fish that was too large. He had one eye on me whilst moving the fish around in its beak to start at the head of the fish. This encounter went on for about 5 minutes and he didn't seem disturbed that I was there. It is amazing to see wild birds this close! The detailed patterns on their feathers can only be appreciated up close.

Heron perching
Heron perching | Source

Do you have herons where you live?

See results
Heron eating a dragonfly
Heron eating a dragonfly | Source

Heron using bread as bait

Herons using bait

A few months ago, my husband appeared at the back door and said, "You aren't going to believe what I have just seen!" This actually isn't that uncommon for him to say, as much of the wildlife here in Brazil still amazes us.

What he saw this time was the heron using bait. Let me explain.We feed the fish in the lake with a floating pellet food. The heron would sit on the opposite bank and watch the fish come to the surface to eat this. After awhile, it began to move a bit closer to where we feed and in the end the heron began arriving before us at feeding time.

The heron picked up a pellet of fish food and gently place it on the water. Then he waited, stock still, for a fish to come up for the pellet. If he was lucky it was a small fish and he would stab at the water and catch the fish. If the fish was too large, he would look for another pellet. If the pellet floated to the bank, the heron would push it back out into the water. I too witnessed this when I was feeding from a boat. The heron would grab a pellet that had landed near a cage he was perched on and fly off with it to the shore. The smaller fish that stay near the edges were what he was after. He waits just a few minutes and with lightening speed, stabs and withdraws a fish. The small ones go down easily but often I have seen them with one I know is too large for them to swallow. This doesn't stop them trying, though.They will even carry this to another place if they fear another bird will try and steal it. They keep moving their catch around in their beak to eat it head first thus keeping the dorsal fin of the fish down. Eventually, if the fish is too large, they will give up and the stabbed fish will be discarded.

This behavior isn't unusual though. People have seen them using feathers, seed pods and even bits of bread to encourage a fish to the surface.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)