Alternative name: Louisiana Heron
- Egretta tricolor
50–76 cm (19¾-30 in)
- Blue-grey head, neck, back and upperwings
- White line along the neck
- White belly
- Long pointed yellowish or greyish bill with a black tip
- Legs and feet are dark
- Long blue filamentous plumes on the head and neck
- White plumes on nape
- Buff plumes on the back
- Bluish bill with black tip
- Pinkish legs
Breeds on the east coast of North America from New Jersey to Florida and the Gulf Coast, and on both coasts of Mexico south to Panama. In South America breeds coastally south to northern Peru on the Pacific coast and the Amazon on the Atlantic coast. Also breeds on the Greater Antilles.
Northern birds are migratory and becomes more widespread on the Gulf Coast and throughout the West Indies. Post-breeding dispersal has taken birds north to New Brunswick and Ontario and a rare but regular visitor to southern California.
There are 2 subspecies:
- E. t. ruficollis (occidentalis):
- Tropical southern US to Colombia, north-western Venezuela and West Indies
- E. t. tricolor: smaller; has a chestnut rather than white foreneck stripe
Mainly coastal, found in shallow lagoons and on tidal mudflats and estuaries, mangroves and commonly in freshwater swamps in Florida.
Often runs when hunting prey in water
The diet includes fish, crustaceans, reptiles and insects.
Colonial nester, often with other heron species. Platform nests are built of sticks in trees or shrubs around swamps. Normal clutch size is 3-7 eggs.
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- BF Member observations
- Frederick, P. C. (2013). Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.306
- Hancock, J. & J.Kushlan. 1984. The Herons Handbook. Harper & Row, New York.
- Frederick, P. C. (2020). Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.triher.01
- Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/triher
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2023) Tricolored Heron. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 31 March 2023 from https://www.birdforum.net/opus/Tricolored_Heron
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