Her"on(?), n. [OE. heiroun, heroun, heron, hern, OF. hairon, F. hron, OHG. heigir; cf. Icel. hegri, Dan. heire, Sw. hger, and also G. hher jay, jackdaw, OHG. hehara, higere, woodpecker, magpie, D. reiger heron, G. reiher, AS. hrgra. Cf. Aigret, Egret.] (Zol.) Any wading bird of the genus Ardea and allied genera, of the family Ardeid. 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.
There are several common American species; as, the great blue heron (Ardea herodias); the little blue (Ardea crulea); the green (Ardea virescens); the snowy (Ardea candidissima); the night heron or qua-bird (Nycticorax nycticorax). The plumed herons are called egrets.
(Bot.), a plant of the genus Erodium; -- so called from the fancied resemblance of the fruit to the head and beak of the heron.
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Tue 11th March 2014