Wild Florida Photo - Ardea herodias

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Ardea herodias


Florida native


The largest heron in North America is a year-round resident of Florida, with migrating birds increasing the state's winter population. Great blue herons can be seen along the edges and in the shallows of both fresh and saltwater. The year-round range includes much of the United States, with summer breeding in the northern plains and the southern provinces of Canada. Winter populations extend throughout Mexico and Central America and along part of the northern coast of South America.
Standing about 1.25 meter (4 ft.) tall with a wingspan of 1.8 m (6 ft.), the body is mostly blue-gray. The head is white with a black stripe and short black plumes. The bill is long, thick and mostly yellow, juveniles having a dark upper bill. Legs are long, dull yellow to slaty-black, with rusty thighs. The front of the neck is striped black and white and the shoulder is black, with a bit of rusty coloring.
To see a sequence of photos of a great blue heron eating a snake, go to this page in Other Photos
In south Florida there is an all-white morph of the great blue heron, which some experts consider the sub-species Ardea herodias var. occidentalis. These birds are differentiated from the great egret (Ardea alba) by being larger and heavier and not having black legs and feet.

View online purchase options for Great Blue Heron Along Cedar Creek by Paul Rebmann View online purchase options for  Great Blue Heron by Paul Rebmann View online purchase options for  Great Blue Over Green by Paul Rebmann

Ardea herodias is a member of the Ardeidae - Herons & Bitterns family.

Other species of the Ardea genus in the Wild Florida Photo database:
  View  Ardea alba - GREAT EGRET
  View  Ardea herodias var. occidentalis - GREAT WHITE HERON

Birds of Florida

   Todd Telander
 A Falcon Field Guide

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Birds of Florida
Each Falcon Field Guide to birds introduces the 180 most common and sought-after species in a state. Conveniently sized to fit in your pocket and featuring full-color, detailed illustrations, these informative guides make it easy to identify birds in a backyard, favorite parks, and wildlife areas. Each bird is accompanied by a detailed listing of its prominent attributes and a color illustration showing its important features. Birds are organized in taxonomic order, keeping families of birds together for easy identification. This is the essential source for the field, both informative and beautiful to peruse.

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For more information on this species, visit the following link:
Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce page for this species

Date record last modified:
Feb 10, 2018

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