Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron
Photo credit: Jimmy Jackson

-Ardea Herodias-

Length: 46 inches
Wingspan: 72 inches
Weight: 5.3 pounds

Large gray-blue heron with a black stripe extending above eye. White fore-neck is streaked with black. Feeds on aquatic life which it stalks slowly and methodically. Breeds throughout North and Central America, the Caribbean, Greater Antilles and the Galapagos Islands. Found on rivers, streams, in marshes and swamps as well as the shorelines, mangroves and tidal flats. Nest is a large platform placed either in tall trees or more often in mangrove bushes. Colonial nester. Lays 3-5 large blue eggs which hatch in 28 days. While working for Audubon as a Coastal Warden we built nest boxes for these birds on spoil islands. Unfortunately it doesn't take much human interaction to cause these birds to abandon their nests so it's up to us to give them some breathing/breeding room when we see them bunched on spoil islands in the summer.