Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias

Order

CICONIIFORMES

Family

Bitterns, Herons and Egrets (Ardeidae)

Code 4

GBHE

Code 6

ARDHER

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Great Blue Heron’s range is located throughout Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America, and many territories in North America. These include Alaska, British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. They prefer to live near bodies of water, both fresh and salt varieties. This species is commonly found among marshes, mangrove swamps, flooded meadows, edges of lakes and shorelines. Nesting takes place in tress and bushes near these sources of water. Their diet consists of shellfish, insects, rodents, amphibians, reptiles and small birds. The current conservation status of the Great Blue Heron is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Great Blue Heron: This large heron has a blue-gray back, black sides and a gray-and-white striped belly. The long neck is gray with a black-bordered white throat stripe. The head has a white face, cap and black crest. The upper mandible is dark and the lower is yellow. It mainly feeds on small fish but will take a variety of foods. It has a direct flight on steady wing beats. Sexes are similar.


Range and Habitat

Great Blue Heron: Breeds locally from coastal Alaska, south-central Canada, and Newfoundland south to Mexico and West Indies. Spends winters as far north as southern Alaska, central U.S., and southern New England, extending south into Mexico. Preferred habitats include lakes, ponds, rivers, and marshes.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"kraak", "fraunk", "ar"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Great Blue Herons congregate at fish hatcheries, potentially creating problems for the fish farmers. However, studies have shown that the herons tend to eat sick fish (which spend more time near the surface) that would have died anyway.
  • They are the largest herons in North America.
  • They eat mainly fish but will also eat other small animals. They have been known to choke to death on prey that is too large.
  • A group of herons has many collective nouns, including a "battery", "hedge", "pose", "rookery", and "scattering" of herons.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Great Blue Heron

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
CrestX
Tufts of feathers on the head of the bird.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Upper mandibleX
The upper part of the bill.
PlumesX
Large, conspicuous, showy feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X