Heron Biology

Understanding the biology of herons is essential to their conservation. HeronConservation, in addition to being a conservation organization, is also the technical and research specialist group for herons. An important role of HeronConservation is to encourage research on all aspects of heron biology and their conservation.
HeronConservation has sponsored syntheses of the biology and conservation of the herons of the world,
The Herons (2005) and Heron Conservation (2000). HeronConservation encourages that these be used as the base-line syntheses to the date of their publication. However, knowledge of heron biology continues to grow, as new research is competed and new observations recorded. HeronConservation encourages participation in correcting and updating the knowledge base. HeronConservation also encourages consistency in use of terminology and taxonomy so as to make communication less ambiguous. Of course, terminology and taxonomy are subject to evolution, and HeronConservation will make these changes as they seem appropriate. Below are links to standard terminology to behavior, the standard species list, species accounts and a bibliography, which you are encouraged to use and to update.

Behavioral Terminology
Understanding and communicating about heron biology requires a common language. One of the more confusing aspects of biology is communicating observation on behavior. So it is important to maintain consistency in the terminology in behavioral terminology so as to allow ready comparisons between independent studies. A common terminology for courtship, breeding, feeding and maintenance behavior has long been used in heron studies. These are summarized in
Terminology of Courtship, Nesting, Feeding and Maintenance in Herons. Biologists and conservationists are encouraged to continue use of these terminologies and to use them in participating in knowledge updates, below. For additions and suggestions to the behavioral terminology protocols, please contact the Chair.

Species List and Species Accounts
HeronConservation uses a common list of species. This is updated periodically as new information becomes available. For consistency, biologists and conservationists are encouraged to use this list of names. The species list of the Herons of the World provides this information.
The list is linked to accounts of the biology of each species. As new observations and research become available, HeronConservation will update this information. Scientists, conservationists, and heron observers are encouraged to contribute to correcting, adding, and amending the information in these accounts. This can be done through use of the comment functions on individual species’ pages. Please follow the format instructions, so that the information provided can be readily inserted into the corrected accounts. In this way, the heron scientific community can maintain an accurate and up-to-date review of the biology of each species. The Species Accounts should be cited as:
HeronConservation. Year. Name of Species. www.HeronConservation.org. Accessed Day Month Year.

Heron Bibliography
For many years, HeronConservation has been engaged to assemble a bibliography of scientific papers about herons. You are encouraged to use the current edition of the Heron Bibliography. No bibliography is ever complete, nor completely accurate. To some extent the internet is making such bibliographies increasingly obsolete, although there are historical and archival value to a bibliography, as well as continuing value in research. You are encouraged to add to and make corrections to the bibliography through the Heron Bibliography comments. Please observe the bibliographic conventions so that contributions can be easily added to the bibliography.