Herons and Bitterns (Ardeidae)

Herons and bitterns are long-legged wading birds, with long necks, and tapered bills. The small area in front of their eyes is bare. Their wings are long, wide, and rounded at the tips. These birds have long toes that are only partially webbed from the outer to the middle ones. When flying, they are easily distinguished from cranes by the position of their neck, which is held doubled back against their shoulders.

As a result of their attractive breeding plumage, many species of heron were driven to near extinction early in the 20th century. They were hunted for their plumes, which sold for up to $1130 per kilogram in 1900 for women’s feathered hats.