Little Blue Heron

Egretta caerulea

Order

PELECANIFORMES

Family

Bitterns, Herons and Egrets (Ardeidae)

Code 4

LBHE

Code 6

EGRCAE

ITIS

Egg Color:

Pale blue green.



Number of Eggs:

1 - 6



Incubation Days:

22 - 24



Egg Incubator:

Both sexes



Nest Location:

In trees or shrubs, 3 to15 feet above ground, occasionally on ground.



Nest Material:

Sticks and twigs.



Migration:

Migratory



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General

Little Blue Heron: Medium-sized slender heron with a long neck, slate-gray body, purple-blue head and neck; has long plumes on the crest and back during breeding season. Eyes are yellow; bill is dark gray with black tip; bill is broader at base than tip, slightly decurved; bill and skin around eyes become bright blue in early to mid-breeding season; legs and feet are dark; sexes are similar. Juvenile is initially all white, becoming peppered with dark gray as it molts to adult plumage; black-tipped bill and green legs.

Range and Habitat

Little Blue Heron: Found along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to Florida, but is most abundant along the Gulf of Mexico; also found in the West Indies and along both Mexican coasts south to South America. Prefers freshwater habitats such as ponds, lakes, marshes, swamps, and lagoons; sometimes found on marine coastlines.

Breeding and Nesting

Little Blue Heron: During the breeding season this heron is gregarious and nests in groups at the edge of other heron colonies. They are monogamous. One to six pale blue-green eggs are laid in April in a flimsy stick nest, usually built by both sexes three to fifteen feet above the ground or water. Eggs are incubated for 22 to 24 days by both parents. The young fledge after 42 to 49 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Little Blue Heron: These herons forage in various freshwater and marine-estuarine wetland habitats by wading in shallow water. Their diet consists of fish, frogs, lizards, snakes, turtles, and crustaceans such as crabs, crayfish and shrimp, aquatic insects and spiders. When swamps and marshes become dry, they eat grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and other grassland insects.

Vocalization

Little Blue Heron: Squawks when alarmed. Emit various croaks and screams at nesting colonies.

Similar Species

Little Blue Heron: Reddish Egret is much larger and heavier-billed, has paler, shaggier neck, and blue-gray legs. Juvenile Snowy Egret has black legs and yellow feet.

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CrestX
Tufts of feathers on the head of the bird.
PlumesX
Large, conspicuous, showy feathers.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X