Great Blue Heron

Great Blue heron (Ardea herodias)
Great Blue heron (Ardea herodias)
Great Blue Heron

Order : Ciconiiformes
The family Ardeidae is made up of Herons, Egrets and Bitterns where Egrets are considered simply as white Herons with decorative plumes and not a biologically separate group. Herons fly with their necks retracted not outstretched like some other members of the Ciconiiformes order. Typically Herons feed in shallow waters or marshes taking fish, frogs, crabs, and even small birds or mammals. They are widely distributed around the world but are most common in the tropics. The nest is made of twigs, usually placed in trees near water, and usually grouped in colonies called Heronries. Herons are sub divided into three groups. Typical Herons which include the genus Egratta, feed during the day. Night Herons, which are usually shorter legged and thick billed, are more active at dusk and during the night, and Tiger Herons which are six species of the more primitive Herons.

Family : Herons (Ardeidae)
Ciconiiformes compromise five to six families of large, long legged wading birds with long bills. They primarily occupy fresh or shallow saline water where they feed on fish, crabs, crustaceans, insects and carrion. Most nest in trees, though some nest in swamps or on the ground. the young are altrical (born bare and blind and dependant on parents for food) Most species are colonial, but the use of sound is limited or uncommon, the birds relying more on displays and rituals. Most are strong, often elegant flyers.

Name : Great Blue heron (Ardea herodias)

Length : 106 - 132 cm ( 42 - 52 in )
Local Names : Grey Gaulin, Arsnicker

The largest Heron in North American the Great Blue Heron is common all over North and Central America, the West Indies and the Galapagos, it closely resembles it’s European counterpart the Grey Heron (Ardes cinerea) except for having rufus to cinnamon thighs. The Great Blue stands four feet high and has a seven foot wingspan. They have a long yellow bill, blue grey wings and back and a white head with black cap and adults can sport a long black plume. It flies with strong deliberate wing beats, it’s neck held in an S-shape, it’s long legs trailing behind. Northern individuals winter in the South and West Indies. The Great Blue feeds in shallow waters or at the waters edge and spears fish or frogs with it’s long, sharp bill. It’s varied diet also includes insects, snakes, turtles, rodents and can include small birds. It may also alight in suburban areas and raid backyard ponds. The species usually breed in colonies in trees close to lakes or other wetlands, often with other species of Herons. It’s builds a bulky stick nest where the female lays 3 to 5 pale blue eggs. Both parents feeding the young by regurgitating food.

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Bird identification pictures

Great Blue heron (Ardea herodias) Birds of Tobago

Great Blue heron (Ardea herodias) head photo

Great Blue heron (Ardea herodias) in flight

Great Blue heron (Ardea herodias) wading birds with long bills

Great Blue heron (Ardea herodias) Caribbean