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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
Afghanistan Native Extant   Yes Yes
Albania Native Extant      
Algeria Native Extant      
Angola Native Extant      
Antigua and Barbuda Native Extant      
Armenia Native Extant      
Australia Unknown Extant      
Austria Native Extant      
Azerbaijan Native Extant     Yes
Bahrain Native Extant   Yes Yes
Bangladesh Native Extant      
Barbados Native Extant      
Belarus Native Extant      
Belgium Native Extant      
Benin Native Extant      
Bhutan Native Extant      
Bosnia and Herzegovina Native Extant      
Botswana Native Extant      
Brazil Native Extant      
Brunei Native Extant      
Bulgaria Native Extant     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      
Cyprus Native Extant   Yes Yes
Czech Republic Native Extant     Yes
Denmark Native Extant     Yes
Djibouti Native Extant      
Dominica Native Extant      
Egypt Native Extant      
Equatorial Guinea Native Extant      
Eritrea Native Extant      
Estonia Native Extant      
Ethiopia Native Extant      
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Native Extant   Yes  
Finland Native Extant     Yes
France Native Extant     Yes
Gabon Native Extant      
Gambia Native Extant      
Germany Native Extant     Yes
Ghana Native Extant      
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant   Yes  
Greece Native Extant     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      
Iceland Native Extant   Yes  
India Native Extant      
Indonesia Native Extant      
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant     Yes
Iraq Native Extant   Yes Yes
Ireland Native Extant      
Israel Native Extant   Yes Yes
Italy Native Extant      
Japan Native Extant      
Jordan Native Extant     Yes
Kazakhstan Native Extant Yes    
Kenya Native Extant      
Kuwait Native Extant     Yes
Kyrgyzstan Native Extant Yes    
Laos Native Extant      
Latvia Native Extant      
Lebanon Native Extant   Yes Yes
Lesotho Native Extant      
Liberia Native Extant      
Libya Native Extant      
Liechtenstein Native Extant      
Lithuania Native Extant      
Luxembourg Native Extant      
Macao (China) Native Extant      
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant      
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
Mongolia Native Extant Yes    
Montenegro Native Extant      
Montserrat (to UK) Native Extant      
Morocco Native Extant      
Mozambique Native Extant      
Myanmar Native Extant      
Namibia Native Extant      
Nepal Native Extant      
Netherlands Native Extant      
Niger Native Extant      
Nigeria Native Extant      
North Korea Native Extant Yes    
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) Native Extant   Yes  
Norway Native Extant      
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
Portugal Native Extant      
Qatar Native Extant   Yes Yes
Romania Native Extant     Yes
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes    
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant Yes    
Russia (European) Native Extant     Yes
Rwanda Native Extant      
Saudi Arabia Native Extant   Yes Yes
Senegal Native Extant      
Serbia Native Extant      
Seychelles Native Extant      
Sierra Leone Native Extant      
Singapore Native Extant      
Slovakia Native Extant     Yes
Slovenia Native Extant      
Somalia Native Extant      
South Africa Native Extant      
South Korea Native Extant      
South Sudan Native Extant   Yes  
Spain Native Extant      
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
Switzerland Native Extant      
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      
Turkmenistan Native Extant Yes    
Uganda Native Extant      
Ukraine Native Extant     Yes
United Arab Emirates Native Extant   Yes Yes
United Kingdom Native Extant      
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 11/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/07/2014.

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 and egrets)
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
- Climate change species distributions