great blue heron

Ardea herodias

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons are giant! These are the largest herons in North America. Often spotted throughout our tours, they tend to spook early but not before sounding the alarm. They can produce a loud prehistoric and deep screeching sound. Adults are more grayish than blue with hints of black. Their heads will have black and white throughout with an almost blended orange to darker gray color. Great Egrets are slightly smaller in size but all white. Another heron species, the Little Blue Heron, is not a juvenile Great Blue Heron. Guests will often ask if they are immature Great Blues; they are not.

These birds nest on Dillon Reservoir in the Summer and are found year-round in the Everglades. There is a White Morphed version found only here in the Everglades. We have spotted a few large white herons suspected of being a Great White Heron. Still, we have not positively IDed or photographed one.

Great Blues are said to be direct descendants of the Pterodactyl. The last bit is a little added info we like to include while on tour. I would not use that as fact.

Range

Wide spread throughout North America. Often spotted at the waters edge.

Diet

Opportunistic feeders. These birds will eat just about anything that moves. Fish, snakes, baby alligators, crabs, frogs, and lizards.