Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias


t is the largest North American heron and, among all extant herons, it is surpassed only by the Goliath Heron and the White-bellied Heron. It has head-to-tail length of 97–137 cm (38–54 in), a wingspan of 167–201 cm (66–79 in) a height of 115–138 cm (45–54 in) and a weight of 2.1–3.3 kg (4.6–7.3 lb).[4][5] Notable features include slaty flight feathers, red-brown thighs, and a paired red-brown and black stripe up the flanks; the neck is rusty-gray, with black and white streaking down the front; the head is paler, with a nearly white face, and a pair of black plumes running from just above the eye to the back of the head. The feathers on the lower neck are long and plume-like; it also has plumes on the lower back at the start of the breeding season. The bill is dull yellowish, becoming orange briefly at the start of the breeding season, and the lower legs gray, also becoming orangey at the start of the breeding season. Immature birds are duller in color, with a dull blackish-gray crown, and the flank pattern only weakly defined; they have no plumes, and the bill is dull gray-yellow.[3][6][7] Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 43–48 cm (17–19 in), the tail is 15.2–19 cm (6.0–7.5 in), the culmen is 13.1–15.2 cm (5.2–6.0 in) and the tarsus is 15.7–21 cm (6.2–8.3 in).


Great Falls Park


I observed this Great Blue Heron trying to swallow this fish for over 20 minutes.

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


mpvettch 7 years ago

Wow! Great series!

Ava T-B
Ava T-B 8 years ago

Nice series.

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 9 years ago

Awesome find! Geodialist, definitely some sort of catfish--I've seen ones very similar to that in my pond.

Geodialist 9 years ago

Looks like some type of catfish in the bird's bill. Anyone care to offer a second opinion?

annorion 9 years ago

Nice series!

Spotted by

McLean, Virginia, USA

Spotted on May 19, 2012
Submitted on Jul 5, 2012


Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors
join Project Noah Team

Join the Project Noah Team