The IUCN-SCC Heron Specialist Group

Herons of the World

Sixty-five species of herons are recognized. Of these 29 are polymorphic having among them 100 currently recognized subspecies. HeronConservation advocates that conservation of herons occur at the local level in as far as possible. In that taxonomically recognized subspecies do not encompass the entirety of variation or of geographic dispersion, HeronConservation has identified 259 populations of conservation interest. These serve as the basis for conservation planning. The accepted list of heron species and populations, including accepted scientific and English common names is below. HeronConservation urges the consistent use of the nomenclature and ordering of this list for consistency across conservation activities.

Heron Taxonomy and Evolution

Heron taxonomy is complicated and evolving, especially with the use of molecular techniques to address questions of evolutionary relationships. No doubt changes in taxonomy and our understanding of evolutionary relationships will emerge over time. For additional information, please see Heron Taxonomy and Evolution.

Species Accounts

Accounts of the biology of each species are linked to the List of the Herons of the World, below which can be accessed by clicking on the English common name.  As mistakes are found and new observations and research become available, HeronConservation will correct and 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 at the bottom of individual species’ account 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. References cited within the species accounts may be found in the Bibliography of the Herons of the World. For additions and corrections to the species accounts, include full bibliographic references in the format of the Bibliography of Herons of the World. The Species Accounts should be cited as: HeronConservation. Year. Name of Species. www.HeronConservation.org. Accessed Day Month Year.

List of the Herons of the World