The Great blue heron is a large wading bird, standing up to 4.5 feet tall with a wingspan of up to 6.5 feet. They are covered in blue-gray feathers with a white belly, dark navy crown, long yellow bill, and long legs. As solitary hunters that feed on fish, frogs, insects, small mammals, and even young alligators, they are often seen standing motionless in shallow water, waiting to catch prey. During the breeding season, they nest in colonies in trees near water sources where food is easily accessible.
Found in a variety of aquatic habitats, both freshwater and saltwater, including marshes, swamps, rivers, lakes, and estuaries.
Typically they prefer areas with shallow water and nearby trees for nesting.
Lifespan of up to 15 years in the wild.
Sexual maturity reached at 2-3 years old.
Breeding pairs are monogamous during one season, but choose new partners each year.
Breeds in the spring with males building nests out of sticks to attract females.
Females lay 2-7 eggs and both parents incubate the eggs and care for the young.
Largest heron: The Great Blue Heron is the largest heron species in North America.
Large Bites: They are able to swallow prey whole thanks to a flexible neck and expandable esophagus.
Feather Oil: Great Blue Herons have specialized feathers on their chest that are used to soak up oil and preen their feathers, helping to keep them waterproof.
With a six-foot wingspan and prominent head plume, these large herons are distinct wading birds, spending about 90 percent of their waking hours stalking prey. In the breeding season, males will gather structural branches and materials to present to the female, who then weaves them into a nest.