Great Blue Heron
Ardea herodias
Family Ardeidae

The largest of North America’s herons, the Great Blue Heron is a large, gray bird often mistaken for a crane. It survives mostly on a diet of fish, which it catches by spearing with its long pointed bill. It is mostly nocturnal and solitary.

Identifying Traits (both sexes):

  • Tall with blue-gray body
  • Long legs
  • Long, thick, pointed bill
  • Long neck, shaped like an “S”, folds up in flight
  • Mostly white head with long black plumes
  • Juvenile:  more drab and gray than adult, missing plumes
  • Size: 97-137 cm (38-54")
  • Weight: 2100-2500 g (74 -88 oz)

Voice: A very deep and hoarse croak, fraaahnk or braak.

Habitat: The Great Blue Heron makes its home in many types of wet habitats, from ocean shores, to marshes, to swamps and small inland ponds

Range: The Great Blue Heron is a year-round resident of southern Canada to Mexico.  Its wintering habitat extends to northern South America.

Interesting Facts: A rare and beautiful white form of the Great Blue Heron, known as the “Great White Heron” exists only along the coasts of the very south of Florida, the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Caribbean. Where the two forms overlap geographically, a third form, called the “Wurdemann’s Heron” can be found. Their bodies are colored like the Great Blue Heron, but their heads and neck are those of the Great White Heron.



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