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.
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