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A very small heron: L. ca. 16Ā½ in (42 cm)
 Similar Species
Juveniles are virtually inseparable from Striated Heron while most adults can be identified with care (see identification essay linked to under External links). Overlap of the two species limited to eastern Panama, Trinidad and Tobago and coastal northern Colombia and Venezuela.
Breeds over much of the eastern half of the continent from extreme south-eastern Canada south to the Gulf Coast and also on the Californian coast. Occurs throughout Mexico, Central America and the West Indies and Aruba, Bonaire, and CuraĆ§ao and Tobago (most birds in Trinidad are Striated Heron).
Vagrants from North America have been recorded in the Western Palearctic: at least six times in the Azores and four in Britain; Cornwall in October 1889, East Yorkshire in November-December 1982, East Lothian in October 1987 and Lincolnshire in September 2001. In addition there was one present on Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands in August-September 1992.
It has commonly been considered a subspecies of the Striated Heron.
There are 4 subspecies:
Occurs in a wide variety of habitats near water, incl. swamps, wet woodlands, marshes, coastal lagoons and mangrove. Generally common, but difficult to observe.
Feeds on fishes, crustaceans, insects and other small animals.
Breeds alone or in small groups. Breeding-season varies. The typically 2-5 eggs are laid in a well-hidden nest placed low in trees, bushes or mangrove.
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