"Great Blue Heron"
(Ardea herodias)







Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Great Blue Heron "grooming"
Photograph by

Snow W. Frost
Great Blue Heron with Mallard Duck
Photograph by

Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Great Blue Heron "in flight"
Photograph by

Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Great Blue Heron "flying"
Photograph by

Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost
Great Blue Heron and Mallard Duck
Photograph by

Snow W. Frost
Photograph by
Snow W. Frost




The Great Blue Heron is the largest and most widespread heron. Grayish-blue body; white head; black stripe over the eye.

The Great Blue Heron is one of the most common herons, and it often barks like a dog when startled. It is seen stalking small fish in shallow water, but will strike at mice, squirrels and just about anything else it might come across. It flies holding its neck in an "s" shape with its long legs trailing stright out behind. It nests in colonies of up to 100 birds, in treetops near or over open water.

Size: 43-52"

Male: Tall gray heron. Black eyebrows extend into several long plumes off the back of head. Long yellow bill. Feathers at base of neck drop down in a kind of necklace.

Female: Same as the male.

Nest: Platform; male and female build; 1 brood per year. Breeds in generally small colonies in isolated areas or singly. Large platform nest of sticks lined with finer twigs and vegetation, placed in trees or shrubs 30-70 feet above ground.

Eggs: 3-5; blue green, unmarked.

Incubation: 27-28 days; female and male incubate.

Fledging: 56-60 days; male and female feed young.

Migration: Complete, to southern states, Central and South American, winters in Florida

Food: Small fish, frogs, insects, snakes. Feeds in shallow water by standing or walking slowly, then grabbing small fish, frogs, birds, and aquatic insects with its bill. Can feed in deeper water by plunging or swimming. Also hunts on land for small mammals. Individuals may form temporary feeding territories up to several hundred yd. in diameter which they defend.

Voice: Harsh guttural "frhnk" or short "rok-rok" call given during aggression. Both sexes do bill clacking.

Habitat: Marshes, swamps, river and lake edges, tidal flats, mangroves, other water areas.

Display: Males display from nest sites with neck arched over back, bill pointing up.

In flight: It flies holding its neck in an "s" shape with its long legs trailing stright out behind.


My personal notes...

The Great Blue Heron is fascinating to watch as it flies across the lake...looks prehistoric, odd, yet, flies with such grace. It fishes with great success...amazing how large fish go down that very thin neck! I've noticed it eating small snakes. It doesn't seem to scare off like many other birds...not timid at all.

***If you have a photo of a Great Blue Heron, that you'd like to share...please email me.






"Bird Wonderland"

"Wonderland"


Copyright 1999-2009 Snow W. Frost
All rights reserved.
Reproduction without permission is strictly forbidden.