LITTLE BLUE HERON


Egretta caerulea


Description:

This small heron feeds on aquatic invertebrates, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Because this heron doesn't have the long and fancy plumage feathers that the egrets have, it's been spared from feather hunters.


Appearance:

Medium sized bird with bluish-gray body plumage. Reddish head and neck. Long, pointed blue-gray bill with a black tip. Dull green legs. Sexes similar. Holds it's neck in an "S" curve while at rest and when in flight. Immature bird has white plumage, gray lores, blue-gray primary tips, and black tipped bill with gray, yellow, or flesh colored base. Black wings with white wingbars. Black, notched tail. White rump and undertail coverts. White edges on wing and tail feathers. Pale bill and legs. Male (Winter): Yellow parts are duller and grayer. Female (Spring & Summer): Greenish upperparts, yellowish throat and chest. Black wings with white wingbars. Female (Winter): Duller and grayer with only a trace of yellow on throat and chest. 4.5 to 5 inches in length.


Habitat:

Freshwater swamps and lagoons.


Nesting:

3-5 pale blue-green eggs with a 20-23 day incubation period. Fledging occurs 42-49 days after hatching. The nest is a small platform made from sticks and built in a small tree or shrub. Both male and female contribute to building the nest. This bird nests in colonies and even non-breeders will roost with the colony.


Observed Locations:

  • Famosa Slough, San Diego
  • San Diego River Flood Control Channel, San Diego, CA
  • Mission Bay (De Anza Cove), San Diego





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.