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The largest heron in Europe, the Grey heron (Ardea cinerea) has a long neck, a strong, dagger-like bill and long yellow legs. Fresh or salt, clear or muddy each is acceptable so long as it will yield something. Despite their size – the wing span is around 6ft – they are surprisingly light, weighing on average only half as much as a greylag goose. They can stand with their neck stretched out, looking for food, or hunched down with their neck bent over their chest. Heron comes from the French – the French name is héron céndre. In medieval times the heron was a favourite quarry of falconers who valued its great flying skills and ability to evade the falcon's stoops. In contrast, roast heron was a popular banquet dish.
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