Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias

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  • Great Blue Heron |  Photo: Roy W. Lowe, USFWS
  • Great Blue Heron |  Photo: Roy W. Lowe, USFWS
  • Great Blue Heron |  Photo: Roy W. Lowe, USFWS
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Great Blue Heron Photo Gallery

Basic Information

Order

Pelecaniformes

Family

Ardeidae

Size

Great Blue Herons can stand 4.5 feet tall.

Lifespan

up to 24.5 years

Weight

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) facts, habitat, range, heron pictures and bird watching tips to help you identify the waterfowl.

Diet

Great Blue Herons eat fish, crustaceans, amphibians and reptiles. They are known to spear fish with their pointed bills.

Behavior

Surface Dive

Range

Nationwide

Nest Placement

Tree

Number of Offspring

2–7 Eggs

Egg Description

Light Green Blue

Condition at Hatching

Active, blue eyes open, gray down covered, talkative

Social Status

Solitary, Flocks

Wingspan

5.5–6.6 ft

What does the Great Blue Heron look like?

Great Blue Herons are large waterbirds. They have long lanky legs and necks, dagger-like yellow gray bills, slate gray bodies and black and white striped crowns.

Great Blue Heron Habitat

Marshlands

Great Blue Heron Facts

Great Blue Herons are on every birders bucket list. These large waterfowl are a strikingly beautiful bird. In flight they have methodically slow wing beats and keep their long necks bent into the famous "S" shape, which improves aerodynamics and allows for quick strikes on unsuspecting prey. When not in flight, they often stand perfectly still, until prey wanders by and their statue like pose bursts into life. These giant birds can have a six and a half foot wingspan yet only weigh five and half pounds. That light weight allows them to stand atop of floating vegetation such as kelp and wait for dinner to swim by. Great Blue Herons have excellent night vision, which allows them to hunt both during daylight and in the cover of darkness. The long frayed feathers on their chest continually grow. Herons use them to clean themselves of fish slim and other waste.

See also