Tricolored Heron

Egretta tricolor




Bitterns, Herons and Egrets (Ardeidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Light blue green

Number of Eggs:

3 - 4

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

2 - 30 feet above ground., Rarely on or near ground.

Nest Material:

Made of sticks and lined with fine materials.


Some migrate



Tricolored Heron: Medium-sized heron with blue-gray upperparts, head, neck and wings, paler rump, white stripe on foreneck, and white belly. Also has white plumes on back of head and rust-brown plumes on lower neck and back during the breeding season. Bill and legs are olive-brown. Sexes are similar. Winter adult and juvenile lack plumes and have rust-brown wash over neck, upper breast, upper back, and wings.

Range and Habitat

Tricolored Heron: Breeds in southeastern New Mexico and Texas, on the Gulf Coast, and along the Atlantic coast north to southern Maine (rarely). Spends winters along the coast from Texas and New Jersey south to northern South America and West Indies. Preferred habitats include swamps, bayous, coastal ponds, salt marshes, mangrove islands, mudflats, and lagoons

Breeding and Nesting

Tricolored Heron: Three or four light blue green eggs are laid on a platform nest made of stems and twigs, occasionally lined with grass; nests in mixed-species rookeries on coastal islands, although some may nest in swamp forests. Both parents incubate eggs for about 21 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Tricolored Heron: Prey consists primarily of small fish, but includes crustaceans, reptiles, amphibians, insects, snails, and other invertebrates. Often stands or wades belly-deep in water; crouches with legs bent when stalking in shallows.


Tricolored Heron: Emits guttural croaks and squawks.

Similar Species

Tricolored Heron: Little Blue Heron is stockier, lacks white underparts, and has maroon on the head and neck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
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.
The upper front part of a bird.
Also called the jugulum or throat patch, it is located on the front of the neck.
Large, conspicuous, showy feathers.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X