Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Pelecaniformes
Family Ardeidae
Genus Ardea
Species A. herodias
Scientific Name Ardea herodias

Great Blue HeronOther Names

Great White heron

Great Blue Heron Description

  • Great blue heron is the largest heron in North America.
  • Herons usually rely on sight to search prey and it swallows the entire animal.
  • The oldest heron lived up to 24 years and 6 months.
  • Herons may move slowly, but they will strike like lightning to grab a fish or snap up a gopher.
  • Herons stand like a statue when they must stalk a fish.

Size & Weight

Adults:

  • HEAD-TO-TAIL LENGTH: 91–137 cm (36–54 in)
  • WEIGHT: (Male) 48 kg (5.5 lb) (Female) 2.11 kg (4.7 lb)
  • WINGSPAN: 167–201 cm (66–79 in)
  • HEIGHT: 115–138 cm (45–54 in)
  • WING CHORD: 43–49.2 cm (16.9–19.4 in)
  • TAIL: 2–19.5 cm (6.0–7.7 in)
  • TARSUS: 7–21 cm (6.2–8.3 in)

Subspecies

  • h. herodias
  • h. fannini
  • h. wardi
  • h. occidentalis
  • h. cognata

Habitat

Freshwater swamps, saltwater marshes, mangrove swamps, lake edges, flooded meadows, shorelines, ditches

Range

Northern Alaska, southern Canada, Rocky Mountains, South America, southern United States, Florida, Caribbean, Mexico

Diet

Shrimps, rodents, aquatic insects, flounders, reptiles, amphibians, gunnels, birds, crabs, perch, sculpins, sticklebacks, voles, bass

Reproduction

3 – 6 eggs

Nest Size

  • LENGTH: 50 cm (20 in)
  • WIDTH: 120 cm (47 in)
  • DEPTH: 90 cm (35 in)

Eggs Size

  • LENGTH: 7 to 76.5 mm (2.00 to 3.01 in)
  • WIDTH: 29 to 50.5 mm (1.14 to 1.99 in)
  • WEIGHT: 61 to 80 g (2.2 to 2.8 oz)

Eggs Description

Pale blue color

Incubation Period

27 days

Breeding Period

March to April

Fledging Period

60 days

Predators

Common ravens, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, Harris’s hawks, bald eagles, raccoons, American crocodile, American alligators, golden eagle, turkey vultures, American crows

Behavior

Solitary

Conservation Status

Least Concern