Great Blue Heron Gular Fluttering

August 24, 2017  •  3 Comments

It is strange when you see a Great Blue Heron panting. This behavior is called Gular Fluttering and is a cooling behavior in which birds rapidly flap membranes in the throat to increase evaporation.

I was at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma this past Sunday photographing a Great Blue Heron. This Heron has been in the same location for several days catching shad and other types of fish. I usually drive to this area before sunrise and park and watch this bird as the sun rises. This Heron doesn't care much about the vehicles on the road and I usually can get some good photos.

After the Great Blue Heron spends some time feeding it will perch on a log in the water and begin this Gular Fluttering if it is a hot morning. Photos just are not able to show this very well, so I decided to try shooting a video.

I do see other birds doing this especially Owls. The Great Blue Herons seem to demonstrate it better.


Great Blue Heron - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma



Steve Creek Wildlife Photography
Thanks, Elaine and Greg I will try and do more videos.
Greg Topp(non-registered)
I guess birds and other animals get hot also. Nature has a way to cool them off sometimes. Do more videos!!
Greg Topp
Elaine Magliacane(non-registered)
Amazing shot... I see Herons around here all the time, I've never witnessed one doing this... but now I'll keep an eye out for it. Surely in the SC heat they do this a lot. I always learn so much from your photos and informative posts. I don't comment often, but I do appreciate the work you do to post this information.
No comments posted.

January February March April May June July August September October (1) November December
January (6) February (2) March (13) April (13) May (5) June July (12) August September October November December