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The Everglades National Park is a national park in the U.S. state of Florida which protects the southern 25 percent of the original Everglades. It is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, and is visited on average by one million people each year.

It is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states after Death Valley and Yellowstone. It has also been declared an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site and a Wetland of International Importance. It is one of only three parks in the world to appear on all three lists.

Unlike most U.S. national parks, Everglades National Park was created to protect a fragile ecosystem instead of safeguarding a unique geographic feature. The Everglades are wetlands created by a slow-moving river originating in Lake Okeechobee, fed by the Kissimmee River, and flowing southwest at about .25 miles (0.40 km) per day into Florida Bay. The park protects an interconnected network of marshland and forest ecosystems that are maintained by natural forces. Thirty-six species designated as threatened or protected live in the park, including the Florida panther, the American crocodile, and the West Indian manatee. The park protects the largest U.S. wilderness area east of the Mississippi River. It is the most significant breeding ground for tropical wading birds in North America, and contains the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere. More than 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish, 40 species of mammals, and 50 species of reptiles live within Everglades National Park. All of South Florida's fresh water, which is stored in the Biscayne Aquifer, is recharged in the park.


The herons,
Are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae, with 64 recognised species (some are called "egrets" or "bitterns" instead of "heron"). Within Ardeidae, all members of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus are referred to as "bitterns", and — including the Zigzag Heron or Zigzag Bittern — are a monophyletic group within the Ardeidae. However, egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons, and tend to be named differently because they are mainly white or have decorative plumes. Although egrets have the same build as herons, they tend to be smaller.

The classification of the individual heron/egret species is fraught with difficulty, and there is still no clear consensus about the correct placement of many species into either of the two major genera, Ardea and Egretta. Similarly, the relationship of the genera in the family is not completely resolved. However, one species formerly considered to constitute a separate monotypic family Cochlearidae, 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, spoonbills and cranes, they differ from these in flying with their necks retracted, not outstretched. They are also 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.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Iain Richardson (RhodieIke) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 819 W: 1 N: 2616] (11512)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2012-09-10
  • Categories: Nature
  • Exposure: f/10.0, 1/640 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2014-02-20 0:38
Viewed: 362
Points: 18
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Additional Photos by Iain Richardson (RhodieIke) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 819 W: 1 N: 2616] (11512)
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