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Little Blue Heron - BirdForum Opus

Adult
Photo © by David Roach
Broward County Park, South Florida
Egretta caerulea

Identification

Height 51–76 cm (20-30 in)
Ws. 102 cm
Weight 325 g

Sexes similar

Breeding Adult

Juvenile, First Spring
Photo © by bobsofpa
Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida, USA, April 2008
  • Blue-grey body
  • Purplish head and neck
  • Long blue plumes
  • Dark blue legs and feet

Non-breeding Adult

  • Dark blue head and neck
  • Paler legs

Immature

  • All white except for dark wing tips and have
  • Yellowish or greenish legs

Gradually acquire blue plumage as they mature. Will usually start the process during their first year of life and be completed when they are a little more than 1 year old.

Similar species

For the adult, the two-toned bill helps separating from Reddish Egret. The white juvenile can be mistaken for Cattle Egret, Snowy Egret and Little Egret.

Distribution

Immature
Photo © by Kadawe
Gloucester, Massachusetts, July 2016

Found along east coast north to Massachusetts, along the Mississippi north to Missouri, and to about 150 miles north of the Gulf Coast. Regularly found 300 miles north of breeding range. Rare vagrant north of that.

Occurs throughout the West Indies and in Mexico breeds on both coasts and south to Panama. In South America ranges south to northern Chile in the west and Uruguay in the east.

Northern birds migrate south to winter in Florida, the West Indies and South America.

Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species[1].

Habitat

Swamps, flooded grasslands and lagoons, also coastal habitats in some areas.

Behaviour

Breeding

They nest in colonies, often with other herons, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. The clutch consists of 3-7 light blue eggs.

Diet

Their diet consists of slow moving, bottom feeding shellfish, crustaceans and insects such as dragonflies.

Gallery

Click on photo for larger image

References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved August 2016)
  3. Wikipedia
  4. BF Member observations
  5. Alvaro Jaramillo. 2003. Birds of Chile. Princeton Field Guides. ISBN 0-691-11740-3

Recommended Citation

External Links


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