A smaller heron that is normally found in the southeastern
United States. Little Blue Herons can sometimes be quite wary and difficult
to approach as they wade in shallow marshes and sloughs, but in parts of their
range where they are habituated to a human presence, such as along popular
trails in the Everglades, they can be very approachable. Immature
birds have an all-white plumage and can be very similar in appearance to Snowy
Egrets (see photos at bottom of page for examples of juvenile plumage for
the Little Blue Heron). Mature birds are dark bluish gray overall, as
in the photo to the right. Little Blue Herons have been expanding their range to the
north in recent decades, and are becoming more commonly seen in the upper Great
Habitat: Marshes and sloughs,
margins of shallow ponds and lakes with emergent vegetation.
Diet: Mostly fish and
crustaceans, also frogs, tadpoles, insects, snakes, lizards, and small rodents.
Behavior: Stands still or walks slowly through the
shallows, searching for prey, and grabbing it with a thrust of the neck and
head when prey is spotted. They will also feed on shore, and
occasionally in grassy meadows or other upland habitat.
Nesting: Rare breeder in South Dakota. Little
Blue Herons are colonial nesters. The nest is a platform of sticks, placed
in a tree or large shrub, sometimes quite high off the ground. The female
usually lays between 3 and 5 eggs, and both parents help to incubate them.
When the eggs hatch, both parents help feed the young. The young begin to
fledge after 4 weeks, and leave the care of the parents 2 or 3 weeks after
Song: Aah-oo-ah-ah-ah by male during
Migration: Summers in the Southeastern U.S., and in scattered locations elsewhere in the
U.S. Winters along Gulf Coast, Florida, Mexico, Central America, and South
Conservation Status: Has been increasing in number
and increasing range northward in recent decades.
Little Blue Heron
Whatbird.com: Little Blue Heron
Photo Information: December 10th, 2012 - Everglades
National Park in Florida - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Little Blue Heron photos.