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Great blue heron

Ardea herodias

Description:

It is the largest North American heron and among 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 2.1–2.5 kg (4.6–5.5 lbs). 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.

Habitat:

The Great Blue Heron is found throughout most of North America, as far north as Alaska and the southern Canadian provinces. The range extends south through Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean to South America. Birds east of the Rocky Mountains in the northern part of their range are migratory and winter in Central America or northern South America. From the southern United States southwards, and on the Pacific coast, they are year-round residents. However their hardiness is such that individuals often remain through cold northern winters, as well. It can be found in a range of habitats, in fresh and saltwater marshes, mangrove swamps, flooded meadows, lake edges, or shorelines, but always close to bodies of water, usually nesting in trees or bushes.

1 Species ID Suggestions

Great Blue Heron
Ardea herodias


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3 Comments

ColinMacleod
ColinMacleod 10 years ago

Thanks - I really need to get a better camera!

Jonathan Guyot
Jonathan Guyot 10 years ago

Yes it seems to be. There is a lot over there.

ColinMacleod
ColinMacleod 10 years ago

Possibly a great blue heron?

ColinMacleod
Spotted by
ColinMacleod

Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico

Spotted on Jan 2, 2012
Submitted on Mar 7, 2012

Spotted for Mission

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Reference

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