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Common Names: Great blue heron
Category: Birds
Sub-category: Bitterns, Herons, & Egrets

It is the largest North American heron. It has head-to-tail length of 36–54 inches, a wingspan of 66–79 inches, a height of 45–54 inches, and a weight of 4–7.9 lbs. Great blue herons have slate-colored flight feathers, red-brown thighs, and a paired red-brown and black stripe up the flanks; the neck is rusty-gray, with black and white streaking down the front; the head is paler, with a nearly white face, and a pair of black or slate plumes runs from just above the eye to the back of the head. The feathers on the lower neck are long and plume-like; it also has plumes on the lower back at the start of the breeding season. The bill is dull yellowish, becoming orange briefly at the start of the breeding season, and the lower legs are gray, also becoming orangish at the start of the breeding season. Immature birds are duller in color, with a dull blackish-gray crown, and the flank pattern is only weakly defined; they have no plumes, and the bill is dull gray-yellow.

The great blue heron can adapt to almost any wetland habitat in its range. It may be found in numbers in fresh and saltwater marshes, mangrove swamps, flooded meadows, lake edges, or shorelines. It is quite adaptable and may be seen in heavily developed areas as long as they hold bodies of fish-bearing water. The primary food for Great Blue Heron is small fish, though it is also known to opportunistically feed on a wide range of shrimp, crabs, aquatic insects, rodents, other small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and small birds. Herons locate their food by sight and usually swallow it whole. Herons have been known to choke on prey that is too large.

As a migratory species, great blue herons are protected by the United States Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Edible Notes: No available information on edibility. As a protected species they should never be killed for food.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.
Sightings