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Little Blue Heron - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by David Roach
Broward County Park, South Florida
Egretta caerulea


Height 51–76 cm (20-30 in)
Ws. 102 cm
Weight 325 g

Sexes similar

Breeding Adult

Juvenile, First Spring
Photo © by bobsofpa
Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida, USA, April 2008
  • Blue-grey body
  • Purplish head and neck
  • Long blue plumes
  • Dark blue legs and feet

Non-breeding Adult

Photo © by Kadawe
Gloucester, Massachusetts, July 2016
  • Dark blue head and neck
  • Paler legs


Photo © by Stanley Jones
Brazos Bend State Park, Texas, USA, 20 April 2021
  • All white except for dark wing tips and have
  • Yellowish or greenish legs

Gradually acquire blue plumage as they mature. Will usually start the process during their first year of life and be completed when they are a little more than 1 year old.

Similar species

For the adult, the two-toned bill helps separating from Reddish Egret. The white juvenile can be mistaken for Western Cattle Egret, Snowy Egret and Little Egret, but notice that the details of the bill should help get the right identification relative to all three.


Found along east coast north to Massachusetts, along the Mississippi north to Missouri, and to about 150 miles north of the Gulf Coast. Regularly found 300 miles north of breeding range. Rare vagrant north of that.

Occurs throughout the West Indies and in Mexico breeds on both coasts and south to Panama. In South America ranges south to northern Chile in the west and Uruguay in the east.

Northern birds migrate south to winter in Florida, the West Indies and South America.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Swamps, flooded grasslands and lagoons, also coastal habitats in some areas.



They nest in colonies, often with other herons, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. The clutch consists of 3-7 light blue eggs.


Their diet consists of slow moving, bottom feeding shellfish, crustaceans and insects such as dragonflies.


Click on photo for larger image


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Rodgers Jr., J. A. and H. T. Smith (2020). Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.libher.01
  1. Wikipedia
  2. BF Member observations
  3. Alvaro Jaramillo. 2003. Birds of Chile. Princeton Field Guides. ISBN 0-691-11740-3

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1