Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron


Most of North America; winters from southern North America, Latin, and South America


Wetlands, lakes ponds, marshes and sea coasts


Pointed yellow bill; white forehead and crown bordered with black; short dark plumes project backward from black nape. Face is white, neck cinnamon-gray with white ventral stripe spotted with dark. Body and wings are blue-gray. Legs are very long and dark. Sexes are similar with the male larger. The immatures are pale and have a black crown with plumes.


Harsh, guttural croaks. Herons have two hunting methods: fishing by stealth, staying motionless until its prey swims within reach of its long stabbing beak, and by stalking its prey slowly and sedately.


Nests may be built on ground, rock ledges, sea cliffs, but tops of tall cypresses or pines are preferred. The nests are often flimsy platforms of sticks 18 inches across. Older nests used year after year, are often 3 - 4 feet across. Lays 4 - 5 pale blue-green to pale olive eggs which are incubated for about 28 days. Both parents feed nestlings, usually regurgitated fish.

Great Blue Heron
Class: birds
Genus: Areda
Species: herodias
Length: 70 - 80 inch wingspan
Height: 50 - 52 inches
Weight: 5 - 8 pounds
Average Lifespan: 10
Wild Diet: Fishes by night and just before dawn and at dusk. The bird stands quietly in shallow water waiting for prey to come within striking distance of its sharp, pointed bill. Eats fish, frogs, salamanders, crabs, shrimp, lizards, aquatic insects; also eats mice, rats, ground squirrels, and pocket gophers.
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed

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