Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias

Great Blue Heron

Appearance

Great blue herons are grey-blue birds, with a black stripe over their eyes and a few feathers sticking out the back of their head. Great blue herons have long yellow bills, white and black stripes on their head, and they can grow to over four feet tall.

Range & Habitat

Great blue herons are found from Alaska to Mexico and Central America. In B.C. they are most commonly found in the lower mainland and the southern part of the province. They tend to stay around shorelines and marshes. There are around 5,000 to 6,000 great blue herons in B.C. In B.C., this animal lives in the Georgia Depression and Coast and Mountains ecoprovinces.

Diet & Behaviour

They eat fish, rodents, insects, frogs and other small birds and use their long toes to stir up prey in the water. They are very fast predators and can use their long bill as a spear.

Lifecycle & Threats

Great blue herons nest in colonies in trees or on grassy hills. The colonies are called rookeries and can have over 20 or 30 birds. The eggs are laid in a shallow nest and the young herons leave their parents in the late summer. Young herons, especially the chicks, are threatened by predatory birds like hawks. The number of great blue herons is decreasing in B.C., mostly because of human disturbance around their nesting and feeding sites.

Status

COSEWIC: Special Concern
CDC: Blue

More Information

www.bcadventure.com

Photo: Hobson