Little Blue Heron
Range/Geographical Distribution: Eastern United States south to Peru and Argentina.
Habitat: Marshes, swamps, estuaries, rice fields, ponds, and shores.
Similar Species: Adult – great blue heron, tricolored heron; Immature – great egret, snowy egret, white ibis.
Description: A medium-sized heron that is slate blue with a maroon neck. Bill grey and legs dark. Immature birds are all white with olive legs and a black-tipped bill.
Size: Length: 22-29” Wingspan: 39-41” Weight: 296-412g
Food: Small fish, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrates
Breeding: Nests in colonies with other herons. Lays up to six pale blue/green eggs on a platform nest made of sticks and green vegetation within a tree or shrub.
Predators: Adults are preyed upon by owls, venomous snakes, eagles, raccoons, and alligators. Eggs fall prey to raccoons, crows, and vultures.
Conservation Status: The little blue heron is listed as least concern by IUCN but habitat loss and degradation still threatens this species.
Interesting Facts: Juvenile little blue herons are more readily accepted by mixed flocks of birds including snowy egrets and great egrets, probably due to their white color. Juveniles have higher catch rates when fishing with these flocks and this may be why the little blue heron stays white for its first year of life.
On the Coast: Little blue herons are often seen wading near Georgia beaches, saltmarshes, estuaries, ponds, and swamps.