Iowa is a state in the Midwestern United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. It is bordered by six states. In colonial times, Iowa was a part of Spanish Louisiana. After the Louisiana Purchase, people laid the foundation for an agriculture-based economy in the heart of the Corn Belt. In the latter half of the 20th century, Iowa's agricultural economy made the transition to a diversified economy of advanced manufacturing, financial services, information technology and green energy production. Iowa is the 26th most extensive in land area and the 30th most populous of the 50 U. S states, its capital and largest city by population is Des Moines. Iowa has been listed as one of the safest states in, its nickname is the Hawkeye State. Iowa derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many Native American tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa is bordered by the Mississippi River on the east.
The southern border is the Des Moines River and a not-quite-straight line along 40 degrees 35 minutes north, as decided by the U. S. Supreme Court in Missouri v. Iowa after a standoff between Missouri and Iowa known as the Honey War. Iowa is the only state whose east and west borders are formed by rivers. Iowa has 99 counties; the state capital, Des Moines, is in Polk County. Iowa's bedrock geology increases in age from west to east. In northwest Iowa, Cretaceous bedrock can be 74 million years old. Iowa is not flat. Iowa can be divided into eight landforms based on glaciation, soils and river drainage. Loess hills lie along the western border of the state. Northeast Iowa along the Upper Mississippi River is part of the Driftless Area, consisting of steep hills and valleys which appear mountainous. Several natural lakes exist, most notably Spirit Lake, West Okoboji Lake, East Okoboji Lake in northwest Iowa. To the east lies Clear Lake. Man-made lakes include Lake Odessa, Saylorville Lake, Lake Red Rock, Coralville Lake, Lake MacBride, Rathbun Lake.
The state's northwest area has many remnants such as Barringer Slough. Iowa's natural vegetation is tallgrass prairie and savanna in upland areas, with dense forest and wetlands in flood plains and protected river valleys, pothole wetlands in northern prairie areas. Most of Iowa is used for agriculture; the Southern part of Iowa is categorised as the Central forest-grasslands transition ecoregion. The Northern, drier part of Iowa is categorised as the Central tall grasslands and is thus considered to be part of the Great Plains. There is a dearth of natural areas in Iowa; as of 2005 Iowa ranked 49th of U. S. states in public land holdings. Threatened or endangered animals in Iowa include the interior least tern, piping plover, Indiana bat, pallid sturgeon, the Iowa Pleistocene land snail, Higgins' eye pearly mussel, the Topeka shiner. Endangered or threatened plants include western prairie fringed orchid, eastern prairie fringed orchid, Mead's milkweed, prairie bush clover, northern wild monkshood.
There is little proof to suggest that the explosion in the number of high-density livestock facilities in Iowa has led to increased rural water contamination and a decline in air quality. In fact, covered manure storage in modern barns prevent that manure from washing away into surface water, as it does in open lots as snow melts and thunderstorms occur. Other factors negatively affecting Iowa's environment include the extensive use of older coal-fired power plants and pesticide runoff from crop production, diminishment of the Jordan Aquifer. Iowa has a humid continental climate throughout the state with extremes of both cold; the average annual temperature at Des Moines is 50 °F. Winters are harsh and snowfall is common. Spring ushers in the beginning of the severe weather season. Iowa averages about 50 days of thunderstorm activity per year; the 30 year annual average Tornadoes in Iowa is 47. In 2008, twelve people were killed by tornadoes in Iowa, making it the deadliest year since 1968 and the second most tornadoes in a year with 105, matching the total from 2001.
Iowa summers are known for heat and humidity, with daytime temperatures sometimes near 90 °F and exceeding 100 °F. Average winters in the state have been known to drop well below freezing dropping below −18 °F. Iowa's all-time hottest temperature of 118 °F was recorded at Keokuk on July 20, 1934. Iowa has a smooth gradient of var
Geese are waterfowl of the family Anatidae. This group comprises the genera Branta. Chen, a genus comprising'white geese', is sometimes used to refer to a group of species that are more placed within Anser; some other birds related to the shelducks, have "goose" as part of their names. More distantly related members of the family Anatidae are swans, most of which are larger than true geese, ducks, which are smaller; the word "goose" is a direct descendent of Proto-Indo-European root, ghans-. In Germanic languages, the root gave Old English gōs with the plural gēs and gandres, Frisian goes and guoske, New High German Gans, Gänse, Ganter, Old Norse gās; this term gave Lithuanian: žąsìs, Irish: gé, Latin: anser, Ancient Greek: χήν, Dutch: gans, Albanian: gatë, Sanskrit hamsa and hamsi, Finnish: hanhi, Avestan zāō, Polish: gęś, Romanian: gâscă / gânsac, Ukrainian: гуска / гусак, Russian: гусыня / гусь, Czech: husa, Persian: غاز. The term goose applies to the female in particular. Young birds before fledging are called goslings.
The collective noun for a group of geese on the ground is a gaggle. The three living genera of true geese are: Anser, grey geese, including the greylag goose, domestic geese. Two genera of geese are only tentatively placed in the Anserinae. Either these or, more the goose-like Coscoroba swan is the closest living relative of the true geese. Fossils of true geese are hard to assign to genus; the aptly named Anser atavus from some 12 million years ago had more plesiomorphies in common with swans. In addition, some goose-like birds are known from subfossil remains found on the Hawaiian Islands. Geese are monogamous. Paired geese are feed more, two factors that result in more young; some Southern Hemisphere birds are called "geese", most of which belong to the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae. These are: Orinoco goose, Neochen jubata Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiaca The South American sheldgeese, genus Chloephaga The prehistoric Malagasy sheldgoose, Centrornis majoriOthers: The spur-winged goose, Plectropterus gambensis, is most related to the shelducks, but distinct enough to warrant its own subfamily, the Plectropterinae.
The blue-winged goose, Cyanochen cyanopterus, the Cape Barren goose, Cereopsis novaehollandiae, have disputed affinities. They belong to separate ancient lineages that may ally either to the Tadorninae, Anserinae, or closer to the dabbling ducks; the three species of small waterfowl in the genus Nettapus are named "pygmy geese". They seem to represent another ancient lineage, with possible affinities to the Cape Barren goose or the spur-winged goose. A genus of prehistorically extinct seaducks, Chendytes, is sometimes called "diving-geese" due to their large size; the unusual magpie goose is in the Anseranatidae. The northern gannet, a seabird, is known as the "Solan goose", although it is a bird unrelated to the true geese, or any other Anseriformes for that matter. Well-known sayings about geese include: To "have a gander" is to examine something in detail. "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander" or "What's good for the goose is good for the gander" means that what is an appropriate treatment for one person is appropriate for someone else.
Saying that someone's "goose is cooked" means that they have suffered, or are about to suffer, a terrible setback or misfortune. The common phrase "silly goose", used when referring to someone, acting silly. "Killing the goose that lays the golden eggs," derived from an old fable, is a saying referring to any greed-motivated, unprofitable action that destroys or otherwise renders a favourable situation useless. "A wild goose chase" is a futile waste of time and effort. There is a legendary old woman called Mother Goose; the oldest collection of Medieval Icelandic laws is known as "Grágás". Various etymologies were offered for that name: The fact that the laws were written with a goose quill. Carboneras, Carles. "Family Anatidae". In del Hoyo, Josep. Handbook of Birds of the World. Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. Pp. 536–629. ISBN 84-87334-10-5. Terres, John K.. The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds. New York: Wings Books. ISBN 0-517-03288-0. Anatidae media on the Internet Bird Collection
The black crappie is a freshwater fish found in North America, one of the two crappies. It is similar to the white crappie in size and habits, except that it is darker, with a pattern of black spots. Black crappies are most identified by the seven or eight spines on its dorsal fin. Crappies have a laterally compressed body, they are silvery-gray to green in color and show irregular or mottled black splotches over the entire body. Black crappies have rows of dark spots on their dorsal and caudal fins; the dorsal and anal fins resemble each other in shape. Both crappies have large mouths extending to below the eye, thin lips—both suggestive of their piscivorous feeding habits. Crappies are about 4–8 inches long; the current all-tackle fishing world record for a black crappie is 2.25 kg. The maximum length reported for a black crappie is 19.3 inches and the maximum published weight is just under 6 pounds. The black crappie's range is uncertain, since it has been transplanted, but it is presumed to be similar to the white crappie's.
Its native range is suspected to be in the eastern United States and Canada, as of 2005, populations existed in all of the 48 contiguous U. S. states. Introduced populations exist in Mexico and Panama; the black crappie's habitats are lakes, borrow pits, navigation pools in large rivers. They prefer areas with little or no current, clear water, abundant cover such as submerged timber or aquatic vegetation, as well as sand or mud bottoms like those found in lakes, ponds and sloughs. Like P. annularis, P. nigromaculatus is prolific and can tend to overpopulate its environment, with negative consequences both for the crappie and for other fish species. A commercial supplier of the fish, claims that it can be safely stocked in ponds as small as one acre in area. Crappies feed early in the morning and from about midnight until 2 am. Individuals smaller than about 16 cm in length eat plankton and minuscule crustaceans, while larger individuals feed on small fish, as well as minnows. Adult black crappie feed on fewer fish than white crappie do.
According to scientific studies carried out in California, mysid shrimp, Neomysis awatschensis, as well as amphipods, Corophium, were the most eaten by all sizes of black crappie. Although this diet is popular among black crappies in general, their diet may change based on habitat, availability of food, other biotic factors such as amount of resource competition; the same study showed that young, small crappie tend to feed on small aquatic invertebrate animals and changed to a fish-filled diet as they matured to adulthood. Its diet, as an adult, tends to be less dominated by other fish than that of the white crappie. Crappies are a popular sport fish, as they are easy to catch during their feeding times. There are minimal size restriction limits for fishing the crappie species. Black crappies can be safely harvested under minimal, reasonable regulations, as long as there is no permanent damage to the fishery or environment; the black crappie is not listed as a species under threat on the IUCN Red List.
Black crappies mature at 2–4 years. Growth during the first four years of their life is faster in the warm waters of the southern part of its range than in cooler waters in the north. White crappie have a higher growth rate in terms of length than black crappie. Most fish that are caught for sport are between 5 years old; the breeding season varies by location, due to the species' great range. Breeding temperature is 14‒20 °C and spawning occurs in spring and early summer. Spawning occurs in a nest built by the male. Males use their bodies and tails to sweep out an area of sand or mud in shallow water near a shoreline and vegetation to create a nest. Black crappies appear to nest in the most protected areas possible. Female crappies produce an average of 40,000 spherical eggs, the number depending on their age and size. After spawning, the male watches over the nest until eggs hatch, about 2–3 days. Newly hatched fish larvae appear translucent, they stay in the nest for several days before moving to sheltered waters.
The oldest recorded age of a specimen is fifteen years, although seven years is a more typical life span for the species. Pomoxis, the genus name, is Greek: "- atos" and "oxys" meaning sharp operculum; this references. The species name, nigromaculatus, is derived from Latin and means "black-spotted"
The sauger is a freshwater perciform fish of the family Percidae which resembles its close relative the walleye. They are members of Perciformes, they are the most migratory percid species in North America. Saugers obtain two dorsal fins, the first is spiny and the posterior dorsal fin is a soft-rayed fin, their paired fins are in the thoracic position and their caudal fin is truncated which means squared off at the corners, a characteristic of the family Percidae. Another physical characteristic of Saugers are their ctenoid scales, common in advanced fishes. Saugers have a fusiform body structure, as a result saugers are well adapted predatory fishes and are capable of swimming into fast currents with minimal drag on their bodies, they may be distinguished from walleyes by the distinctly spotted dorsal fin, by the lack of a white splotch on the caudal fin, by the rough skin over their gill, by their more brassy color, or darker color in some regions. The average sauger in an angler's creel is 300 to 400 g in weight.
Saugers are a distributed fish species. Their historical range consisted of eastern U. S west of the Appalachian Mountains southern and western U. S up into southern Canada. Sauger distribution and range has decreased from historical ranges because of degraded and fragmented habitat conditions. Sauger distribution within its home range varies by time of year because they are a migratory fish species. Saugers are more typical of rivers whereas walleyes are more common in reservoirs. In many parts of their range, saugers are sympatric with walleyes. Hybridization between saugers and walleyes is not unknown. Being intermediate in appearance between the two species, saugeyes are sometimes difficult to differentiate, but they carry the dark blotches characteristic of the sauger. Saugers, are smaller and will better tolerate waters of higher turbidity than the walleye. Saugers require warmer summer water temperatures of 20-28 degrees Celsius; the need for warm water temperatures is thought to affect the northern and western boundaries of their range.
Saugers move upstream to spawn during March–May depending on where their home locations are. They move downstream to their home locations from April–July after their spawning period is over. Saugers have been known to travel between 10 and 600 km from their home to spawning location downstream. Habitat at spawning sites are less diverse than home locations. Females prefer rocky substrate and pools to deposit their eggs; as females increase in length, egg quality and fecundity increase. However, it is thought. Sexual maturity is reached between 5 years old. Other measures of sexual maturity are related to size. A sauger is considered to be an adult. Upon birth, larval saugers drift downstream before developing feeding tendencies and horizontal maneuverability. Juvenile saugers tend to develop in diversion canals and backwaters until autumn when they migrate upstream to their wintering habitat. Residing in diversion canals is a large source of mortality for juvenile saugers. Sauger feed on a variety of invertebrates and small fishes depending on the time of year and size of the sauger.
Channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus and freshwater drum Pylodictus olivaris are a midsize and large sauger's main food source during spring. The diet of a small sauger is different than a larger sauger's. Smaller saugers feed on benthic invertebrates, mayfly larvae, catfish during spring and summer. Mid-size and large saugers feed on fish from spring to autumn, but their diets alter during summer. Mid-size and large saugers feed predominantly on mayfly larvae but only during summer months. Freshwater drum Aplodinotus grunniens and gizzard shad Dorosoma cepedianum are dominant food sources for saugers of all sizes during autumn. Fish accounted for over 99% of a sauger's diet during autumn. Saugers prey on shiners during spring and summer but they do not account for a significant part of their diet. Shiners are absent from a sauger's diet in autumn due to their availability. Sauger are most to be found in large rivers with deep pools with depths greater than 0.6 m. Pools with depths less than 0.6 m are not to yield saugers.
They encounter a variety of habitats because of their migratory tendencies. They are found in natural rivers because they have more abundant pools and their flow regime has not been altered by dams or diversions, they are still common in impounded river systems. Diversions and dams affect spawning areas of Saugers. Saugers are found in areas with high turbidity, low channel slope, low stream velocity, deep water. Saugers tend to select pools with sand and silt substrates, habitat features that provide cover from the river current, they tend to avoid riffles. They are most found in pools that are at least 1.5 m deep. They can be found in shallower pools but in lesser numbers. There have been no observed differences in habitat preference for females; the amount of saugers observed will increase with mean summer water temperature, maximum water depth, mean summer alkalinity. Saugers face many conservation issues because of migratory barriers, habitat loss, entrainment in irrigation canals, overexploitation.
Dams and diversion canals prevent spawning in upstream habitats. Altering flow regimes in rivers affects turbidity, formation of pools, temperature. All of which are important for the timing and success of spawning
Pottawattamie County, Iowa
Pottawattamie County is a county located in the U. S. state of Iowa. At the 2010 census, the population was 93,158; the county takes its name from the Potawatomi Native American tribe. The county seat is Council Bluffs. Pottawattamie County is included in the Omaha -- NE -- IA Metropolitan Statistical Area. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 959 square miles, of which 950 square miles is land and 8.9 square miles is water. It is the second-largest county in Iowa by area. Due to movement of the Missouri River and a Supreme Court ruling, part of the county, Carter Lake lies on the far side of the Missouri River; this part of the county cannot be reached by road without entering Nebraska. DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge The 2010 census recorded a population of 93,158 in the county, with a population density of 97.6233/sq mi. There were 39,330 housing units, of which 36,775 were occupied. At the 2000 census, there were 87,704 people, 33,844 households and 23,623 families residing in the county.
The population density was 92 per square mile. There were 35,761 housing units at an average density of 38 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 95.98% White, 0.77% Black or African American, 0.37% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.27% from other races, 1.11% from two or more races. 3.30% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 33,844 households of which 32.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.60% were married couples living together, 11.80% had a female householder with no husband present and 30.20% were non-families. 24.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.00% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.03. 26.00% of the population were under the age of 18, 9.10% from 18 to 24, 28.60% from 25 to 44, 22.70% from 45 to 64, 13.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.50 males.
For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.60 males. The median household income was $40,089 and the median family income was $47,105. Males had a median income of $31,642 vand females $24,243; the per capita income was $19,275. About 6.40% of families and 8.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.00% of those under age 18 and 6.30% of those age 65 or over. Honey Creek Bentley Loveland Weston The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Pottawattamie County.† county seat Pottawattamie County is served by the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office consisting of 51 sworn deputies, 13 reserve deputies, 92 detention officers and eight civilian support staff. Its headquarters is located in Iowa. Pottawattamie County is a Republican county; the county last backed a Democratic presidential candidate in 1964 as the party won nationally by a landslide, & only voted Democratic in four other elections prior to that. However, some recent elections have become more competitive, with Barack Obama losing the county in 2008 by less than 1,000 votes.
In contrast, Donald Trump won the county by over 21 percent in 2016. National Register of Historic Places listings in Pottawattamie County, Iowa Pottawattamie County Government's website Pottawattamie County Assessor's website
The largemouth bass is a carnivorous freshwater gamefish in the Centrarchidae family, a species of black bass native to much of the United States And Northern Mexico. It is known by a variety of regional names, such as the widemouth bass, bigmouth bass, black bass, largies, Potter's fish, Florida bass, Florida largemouth, green bass, Green trout, gilsdorf bass, Oswego bass, southern largemouth and northern largemouth, LMB; the largemouth bass is the state fish of Georgia and Indiana, the state freshwater fish of Florida and Alabama, the state sport fish of Tennessee. The largemouth bass is an olive-green to greenish gray fish, marked by a series of dark, sometimes black, blotches forming a jagged horizontal stripe along each flank; the upper jaw of a largemouth bass extends beyond the rear margin of the orbit. In comparison to age, a female bass is larger than a male; the largemouth is the largest of the black basses, reaching a maximum recorded overall length of 29.5 in and a maximum unofficial weight of 25 pounds 1 ounce.
The fish lives 10 to 16 years on average. The juvenile largemouth bass consumes small bait fish, small shrimp, insects. Adults consume smaller fish, snails, frogs, salamanders and small water birds and baby alligators. In larger lakes and reservoirs, adult bass occupy deeper water than younger fish, shift to a diet consisting entirely of smaller fish like shad, yellow perch, ciscoes and sunfish, it consumes younger members of larger fish species, such as catfish, walleye, white bass, striped bass, smaller black bass. Prey items can be larger. Studies of prey utilization by largemouths show that in weedy waters, bass grow more due to difficulty in acquiring prey. Less weed cover allows bass to more find and catch prey, but this consists of more open-water baitfish. With little or no cover, bass can starve or be stunted. Fisheries managers must consider these factors when designing regulations for specific bodies of water. Under overhead cover, such as overhanging banks, brush, or submerged structure, such as weedbeds, humps and drop-offs, the largemouth bass uses its senses of hearing, sight and smell to attack and seize its prey.
Adult largemouth are apex predators within their habitat, but they are preyed upon by many animals while young. Notably in the Great Lakes Region, Micropterus salmoides along with many other species of native fish have been known to prey upon the invasive round goby. Remains of said fish have been found inside the stomachs of largemouth bass consistently; this feeding habit may impact the ecosystem positively, but more research must be conducted to verify this. Note that it is illegal to use Neogobius melanostomus as bait in the Great Lakes Region. Largemouth bass reach sexual maturity and begin spawning when they are about a year old. Spawning takes place in the spring season when the water temperature first holds steady above 60˚F. In the northern region of the United States, this occurs anywhere from late April until early July. In the southern states, where the largest and healthiest specimens inhabit, this process can begin in March and is over by June. Males create nests by moving debris from the bottom of the body of water using their tails.
These nests are about twice the length of the males, although this can vary. Bass prefer sand, muck, or gravel bottoms, but will use rocky and weedy bottoms where there is cover for their nest, such as roots or twigs. After finishing the nest, the males swim near the nest looking for a female to mate with. After one is found, the two bass swim around the nest together, turning their bodies so that the eggs and sperm that are being released will come in contact on the way down to the nest. Bass will spawn twice per spring, with some spawning three or four times, although this is not as common; the male will guard the nest until the eggs hatch, which can take about 2 to 4 days in the southern U. S and Northern Mexico, longer in the northern part of its Native Range. Depending on the water temperature, the male will stay with the nest until the infant bass are ready to swim out on their own, which can be about two more weeks after they hatch. After this, the male and newborns will switch to more of a summer mode, in which they focus more on feeding.
Largemouth bass are keenly sought after by anglers and are noted for the excitement of their'fight,' meaning how vigorously the fish resists being hauled into the boat or onto shore after being hooked. The fish will become airborne in their effort to throw the hook, but many say that their cousin species, the smallmouth bass, is more aggressive. Anglers most fish for largemouth bass with lures such as plastic worms, jigs and live bait, such as worms and minnows. A recent trend is the use of large swimbaits to target trophy bass that forage on juvenile rainbow trout in California. Fly fishing for largemouth bass may be done using both topwater and worm imitations tied with natural or synthetic materials. Other Live baits, such as frogs or crawfish, can be productive. In fact, large golden shiners are a popular live bait used to catch trophy bass when they are sluggish in the heat of summer or in the cold of winter. Largemouth bass hang around big patches of weeds and other shallow water cover.
These fish are capable of surviving in a wide variety of climates and waters
The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae, with 64 recognised species, some of which are referred to as egrets or bitterns rather than herons. Members of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus are referred to as bitterns, together with the zigzag heron, or zigzag bittern, in the monotypic genus Zebrilus, form a monophyletic group within the Ardeidae. Egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons, tend to be named differently because they are white or have decorative plumes in breeding plumage. Herons, by evolutionary adaptation, have long beaks; the classification of the individual heron/egret species is fraught with difficulty, no clear consensus exists about the correct placement of many species into either of the two major genera and Egretta. The relationships of the genera in the family are not resolved. However, one species considered to constitute a separate monotypic family, the Cochlearidae or the boat-billed heron, is now regarded as a member of the Ardeidae.
Although herons resemble birds in some other families, such as the storks, ibises and cranes, they differ from these in flying with their necks retracted, not outstretched. They are one of the bird groups that have powder down; some members of this group nest colonially in trees, while others, notably the bitterns, use reed beds. The herons are medium - to large-sized birds with long necks, they exhibit little sexual dimorphism in size. The smallest species is considered the little bittern, which can measure under 30 cm in length, although all the species in the genus Ixobrychus are small and many broadly overlap in size; the largest species of heron is the goliath heron. The necks are able to kink in an S-shape, due to the modified shape of the cervical vertebrae, of which they have 20–21; the neck is able to retract and extend, is retracted during flight, unlike most other long-necked birds. The neck is longer in the day herons than the night bitterns; the legs are long and strong and in every species are unfeathered from the lower part of the tibia.
In flight, the legs and feet are held backward. The feet of herons have thin toes, with three forward-pointing ones and one pointing backward; the bill is long and harpoon-like. It can vary from fine, as in the agami heron, to thick as in the grey heron; the most atypical bill is owned by the boat-billed heron, which has a thick bill. The bill, as well as other bare parts of the body, is yellow, black, or brown in colour, although this can vary during the breeding season; the wings are broad and long, exhibiting 10 or 11 primary feathers, 15–20 secondaries. and 12 rectrices. The feathers of the herons are soft and the plumage is blue, brown, grey, or white, can be strikingly complex. Amongst the day herons, little sexual dimorphism in plumage is seen. Many species have different colour morphs. In the Pacific reef heron, both dark and light colour morphs exist, the percentage of each morph varies geographically. White morphs only occur in areas with coral beaches; the herons are a widespread family with a cosmopolitan distribution.
They exist on all continents except Antarctica, are present in most habitats except the coldest extremes of the Arctic high mountains, the driest deserts. All species are associated with water, they are predominantly found in lowland areas, although some species live in alpine areas, the majority of species occurs in the tropics. The herons are a mobile family, with most species being at least migratory; some species are migratory, for example the grey heron, sedentary in Britain, but migratory in Scandinavia. Birds are inclined to disperse after breeding, but before the annual migration, where the species is colonial, searching out new feeding areas and reducing the pressures on feeding grounds near the colony; the migration occurs at night as individuals or in small groups. The herons and bitterns are carnivorous; the members of this family are associated with wetlands and water, feed on a variety of live aquatic prey. Their diet includes a wide variety of aquatic animals, including fish, amphibians, crustaceans and aquatic insects.
Individual species may be generalists or specialise in certain prey types, such as the yellow-crowned night heron, which specialises in crustaceans crabs. Many species opportunistically take larger prey, including birds and bird eggs and more carrion. More herons eating acorns and grains have been reported, but most vegetable matter consumed is accidental; the most common hunting technique is for the bird to sit motionless on the edge of or standing in shallow water and to wait until prey comes within range. Birds may either do this from an upright posture, giving them a wider field of view for seeing prey, or from a crouched position, more cryptic and means the bill is closer to the prey when it is located. Having seen prey, the head is moved from side to side, so that the heron can calculate the position of the prey in the water and compensate for refraction, the bill is used to spear the prey. In addition to sitting and waiting, herons may feed more actively, they may walk around or l