Heron Her"on, n. [OE. heiroun, heroun, heron, hern, OF. hairon, F. h['e]ron, OHG. heigir; cf. Icel. hegri, Dan. heire, Sw. h["a]ger, and also G. h["a]her jay, jackdaw, OHG. hehara, higere, woodpecker, magpie, D. reiger heron, G. reiher, AS. hr[=a]gra. Cf. {Aigret}, {Egret}.] (Zo["o]l.) Any wading bird of the genus {Ardea} and allied genera, of the family {Ardeid[ae]}. The herons have a long, sharp bill, and long legs and toes, with the claw of the middle toe toothed. The common European heron ({Ardea cinerea}) is remarkable for its directly ascending flight, and was formerly hunted with the larger falcons. [1913 Webster]

Note: There are several common American species; as, the great blue heron ({Ardea herodias}); the little blue ({Ardea c[oe]rulea}); the green ({Ardea virescens}); the snowy ({Ardea candidissima}); the night heron or qua-bird ({Nycticorax nycticorax}). The plumed herons are called {egrets}. [1913 Webster]

{Heron's bill} (Bot.), a plant of the genus {Erodium}; -- so called from the fancied resemblance of the fruit to the head and beak of the heron. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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