Wading on its long, thin legs, a Great Blue Heron bird, Ardea herodias, scouts for prey. This wading bird is in the heron family, Ardeidae.
Great Blue Heron bird in Tucson, AZ
The tall GREAT BLUE bird is the most common and largest of North American HERONS.
Great Blue Heron bird fishing
The Great Blue Heron is found as far north as the southern Canadian provinces. From the southern United States southwards, and on the Pacific coast Great Blue Herons are year round residents.
Great Blue Heron at Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum
This wading bird can be found in a range of habitats, swamps, flooded meadows, fresh and saltwater marshes, or shorelines. You will find Great Blue Herons close to bodies of water and usually nesting in bushes or trees.
Great Blue Heron wading bird in the water
These stately herons are expert fishers. Great Blue Herons snare their prey by walking slowly, or standing still for long periods of time and waiting for fish to come within range of their long necks and blade-like bills.
grayish blue color of this wading bird
The heron’s deathblow is delivered with a quick thrust of the sharp bill, and the prey is swallowed whole. Though Great Blue Herons are best known as fishers, mice are a large part of their diet, and they also eat insects, frogs and other small creatures.
How tall is a Great Blue Heron? Their height is 3.5 to 4.5 ft / 1.2 to 1.4 meters. What is the Great blue heron’s wingspan? The wing span of the Great Blue Heron can be up to 6.7 ft / 2 meters. How fast can the Great Blue Heron Fly? This large heron can cruise at 20-30 miles and hour. 32 to 48 kilometers
long wing span of the Great Blue Heron bird
Though great blue herons hunt alone, they typically nest in colonies. They prefer tall trees, but sometimes nest in low shrubs. Female herons produce two to seven eggs, which both parents protect and incubate. Chicks can survive on their own by about two months of age. See the Blue Heron putting a deer in its place in the youtube video below.
The Blue Heron bill is dull yellowish, becoming orange briefly at the start of the breeding season, and the lower legs of this wading bird which are gray will also become orangey at the start of the breeding season.
older Great Blue Heron bird with long feathers
Young Great Blue Heron birds are duller in color, with a blackish-gray crown, and the pattern on the flank only weakly defined; the young herons have no plumes, and the bill is dull gray-yellow.
The picture of The Great Blue shows the long feathers on the lower neck. The mature Great Blue Heron also has plumes on the lower back at the start of the breeding season.
Great Blue Heron bird in Tucson Arizona
Herons have excellent eye sight and that is how they locate their food. Great Blue Herons feed at the water’s edge both day and night; typically dawn and dusk.