Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias

Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias
Least Concern
Ardea herodias

Characteristics and Behavior:

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.



Fun Facts:

  1. Largest heron: The Great Blue Heron is the largest heron species in North America.
  2. Large Bites: They are able to swallow prey whole thanks to a flexible neck and expandable esophagus.
  3. 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.

Other Information

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.

How to help

Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation

Learn more

Cornell Lab of Ornithology