HABITAT AND CONTEXT
A basic knowledge of the habitat and lifestyle preferences of the various herons is useful in narrowing down identifications. For instance, the Bittern is generally a secretive bird, remaining mainly concealed within reedbeds. Conversely, Grey Herons are found in a wide range of wetland habitats from ditches and damp fields to river and canal sides, reservoirs, lakes and even some coastal localities. Purple Herons (see below; which are rare birds in the UK) prefer to remain at least partially concealed in taller vegetation, if possible, than their larger grey cousins.