email a friend
printable version
LC
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Low
Land mass type   Average mass 1443 g

Distribution

  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 62,100,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 62,100,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Unknown -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 10.3 - - -
Population justification: The global population is estimated to number c.790,000-3,700,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while national population estimates include: c.100,000-1 million breeding pairs and >c.10,000 individuals on migration in China; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Korea; c.100,000-1 million breeding pairs and >c.10,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.100,000-1 million breeding pairs and >c.10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
Trend justification: The overall population trend is uncertain, as some populations are decreasing, while others are stable, increasing or have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006). In Europe, trends since 1980 show that populations have undergone a moderate increase (p<0.01), based on provisional data for 21 countries from the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (EBCC/RSPB/BirdLife/Statistics Netherlands; P. Vorisek in litt. 2008).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Afghanistan Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Albania Native Extant       Yes
Algeria Native Extant        
Angola Native Extant        
Antigua and Barbuda Native Extant        
Armenia Native Extant       Yes
Australia Unknown Extant        
Austria Native Extant       Yes
Azerbaijan Native Extant     Yes Yes
Bahrain Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Bangladesh Native Extant        
Barbados Native Extant        
Belarus Native Extant       Yes
Belgium Native Extant       Yes
Benin Native Extant        
Bhutan Native Extant        
Bosnia and Herzegovina Native Extant       Yes
Botswana Native Extant        
Brazil Native Extant        
Brunei Native Extant        
Bulgaria Native Extant     Yes Yes
Burkina Faso Native Extant        
Burundi Native Extant        
Cambodia Native Extant        
Cameroon Native Extant        
Cape Verde Native Extant        
Central African Republic Native Extant        
Chad Native Extant        
China (mainland) Native Extant        
Comoros Native Extant        
Congo Native Extant        
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Native Extant        
Côte d'Ivoire Native Extant        
Croatia Native Extant       Yes
Cyprus Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Czech Republic Native Extant     Yes Yes
Denmark Native Extant     Yes Yes
Djibouti Native Extant        
Dominica Native Extant        
Egypt Native Extant        
Equatorial Guinea Native Extant        
Eritrea Native Extant        
Estonia Native Extant       Yes
Ethiopia Native Extant        
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Native Extant   Yes    
Finland Native Extant     Yes Yes
France Native Extant     Yes Yes
Gabon Native Extant        
Gambia Native Extant        
Germany Native Extant     Yes Yes
Ghana Native Extant        
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant   Yes    
Greece Native Extant     Yes Yes
Greenland (to Denmark) Vagrant Extant        
Guadeloupe (to France) Native Extant        
Guam (to USA) Native Extant   Yes    
Guinea Native Extant        
Guinea-Bissau Native Extant        
Hong Kong (China) Native Extant        
Hungary Native Extant       Yes
Iceland Native Extant   Yes    
India Native Extant        
Indonesia Native Extant        
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant     Yes Yes
Iraq Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Ireland Native Extant       Yes
Israel Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Italy Native Extant       Yes
Japan Native Extant        
Jordan Native Extant     Yes Yes
Kazakhstan Native Extant Yes      
Kenya Native Extant        
Kuwait Native Extant     Yes Yes
Kyrgyzstan Native Extant Yes      
Laos Native Extant        
Latvia Native Extant       Yes
Lebanon Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Lesotho Native Extant        
Liberia Native Extant        
Libya Native Extant        
Liechtenstein Native Extant       Yes
Lithuania Native Extant       Yes
Luxembourg Native Extant       Yes
Macao (China) Native Extant        
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant       Yes
Madagascar Native Extant        
Malawi Native Extant        
Malaysia Native Extant        
Maldives Native Extant Yes      
Mali Native Extant        
Malta Native Extant        
Martinique (to France) Native Extant        
Mauritania Native Extant        
Mayotte (to France) Native Extant        
Micronesia, Federated States of Native Extant   Yes    
Moldova Native Extant     Yes Yes
Mongolia Native Extant Yes      
Montenegro Native Extant       Yes
Montserrat (to UK) Native Extant        
Morocco Native Extant        
Mozambique Native Extant        
Myanmar Native Extant        
Namibia Native Extant        
Nepal Native Extant        
Netherlands Native Extant       Yes
Niger Native Extant        
Nigeria Native Extant        
North Korea Native Extant Yes      
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) Native Extant   Yes    
Norway Native Extant       Yes
Oman Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Pakistan Native Extant        
Palau Unknown Extant        
Palestinian Authority Territories Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Philippines Native Extant        
Poland Native Extant     Yes Yes
Portugal Native Extant       Yes
Qatar Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Romania Native Extant     Yes Yes
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant Yes      
Russia (European) Native Extant     Yes Yes
Rwanda Native Extant        
Saudi Arabia Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Senegal Native Extant        
Serbia Native Extant       Yes
Seychelles Native Extant        
Sierra Leone Native Extant        
Singapore Native Extant        
Slovakia Native Extant     Yes Yes
Slovenia Native Extant       Yes
Somalia Native Extant        
South Africa Native Extant        
South Korea Native Extant        
South Sudan Native Extant   Yes   Yes
Spain Native Extant       Yes
Sri Lanka Native Extant        
St Helena (to UK) Vagrant Extant        
St Kitts and Nevis Native Extant        
St Lucia Native Extant        
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) Vagrant Extant        
St Vincent and the Grenadines Native Extant        
Sudan Native Extant        
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Vagrant Extant        
Swaziland Native Extant        
Sweden Native Extant     Yes Yes
Switzerland Native Extant       Yes
Syria Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Taiwan (China) Native Extant        
Tajikistan Native Extant Yes      
Tanzania Native Extant        
Thailand Native Extant        
Togo Native Extant        
Trinidad and Tobago Native Extant        
Tunisia Native Extant        
Turkey Native Extant       Yes
Turkmenistan Native Extant Yes      
Uganda Native Extant        
Ukraine Native Extant     Yes Yes
United Arab Emirates Native Extant   Yes Yes  
United Kingdom Native Extant       Yes
Uzbekistan Native Extant Yes      
Vietnam Native Extant        
Western Sahara Native Extant        
Yemen Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Zambia Native Extant        
Zimbabwe Native Extant        

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Afghanistan Ab-i-Istada site factsheet
Afghanistan Hamun-i-Puzak site factsheet
Hong Kong (China) Inner Deep Bay and Shenzhen River catchment area site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Arjan Protected Area site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Gomishan marshes and Turkoman steppes site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Hilleh Protected Area site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Horeh Bamdej site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Izeh and Sheikho lakes site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Khouran Straits site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Lavandavil Wildlife Refuge site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Miankaleh Peninsula and Gorgan Bay site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Shadegan marshes and tidal mudflats of Khor-al Amaya and Khor Musa site factsheet
Iraq Haur Al Hammar site factsheet
Israel Carmel coast site factsheet
Israel Hefer valley site factsheet
Israel Jezre'el, Harod and Bet She'an valleys site factsheet
Israel Lake Kinneret and Kinerot site factsheet
Israel Southern Arava valley and Elat mountains site factsheet
Kazakhstan Lesser Aral Sea site factsheet
Mongolia Buir Lake site factsheet
North Korea Lake Kwangpo site factsheet
Oman Barr al Hikman site factsheet
Oman Duqm site factsheet
Philippines Manila Bay site factsheet
Romania Câmpia Crişurilor site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Selenga delta site factsheet
Russia (European) Delta of the River Don site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Al-Ha'ir site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Tarut Bay site factsheet
Ukraine Dnipro delta site factsheet
Ukraine Molochnyj Liman site factsheet
Ukraine Yagorlyts'ka and Tendrivs'ka Bays site factsheet
Uzbekistan Balykchi Fish Farm site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Aquaculture Ponds suitable breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Aquaculture Ponds suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches suitable breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Irrigated Land (includes irrigation channels) suitable breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Irrigated Land (includes irrigation channels) suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Ponds (below 8ha) suitable breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Ponds (below 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Wastewater Treatment Areas suitable breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Wastewater Treatment Areas suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Water Storage Areas (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Water Storage Areas (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level suitable breeding
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level suitable non-breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded suitable breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Mud Flats and Salt Flats suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Mud Flats and Salt Flats suitable non-breeding
Marine Intertidal Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses) suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Inland Deltas suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Inland Deltas suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes and Flats suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes and Flats suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools suitable non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 4000 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops / Scale Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals / Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals / Persecution/control Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Past Impact
Stresses
Species mortality
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting / Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Unspecified species Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases / Avian Botulism (Clostridium botulinum) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases / Avian Influenza Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species mortality
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents / Soil erosion, sedimentation Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation

Utilisation

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food (human) Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent
Sport Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Handicrafts, jewellery, decorations, curios Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Ardea cinerea. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/07/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Ardeidae (Herons)
Species name author Linnaeus, 1758
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 62,100,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change