her'-un ('anaphah; charadrios; Latin Ardea cinerea):
Herons are mentioned only in the abomination lists of Leviticus 11:19 (margin "ibis") and Deuteronomy 14:18. They are near relatives of crane, stork, ibis and bittern. These birds, blue, white or brown, swarmed in Europe and wintered around Merom, along the Jordan, at the headwaters of the Jabbok and along its marshy bed in the dry season. Herons of Southern Africa that summered in the Holy Land loved to nest on the banks of Merom, and raise their young among the bulrushes, papyrus, reeds and water grasses, although it is their usual habit to build in large trees. The white herons were small, the blue, larger, and the brown, close to the same size. The blue were 3 1/2 ft. in length, and had a 5-ft. sweep. The beak, neck and legs constituted two-thirds of the length of the body, which is small, lean and bony, taking its appearance of size from its long loose feathers. Moses no doubt forbade these birds as an article of diet, because they ate fish and in older specimens would be tough, dark and evil smelling. The very poor of our western and southeastern coast states eat them.
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