Egretta Caerulea – Little Blue Heron

Egretta Caerulea - Little Blue Heron found in the US

The little blue heron, Egretta caerulea is a small heron species that is a member of the Ardeidae family. Egretta caerulea flies gracefully and powerfully. Their wingbeats are faster than those of larger herons, and they fly with their heads lowered and their legs extended to the back. Usually silent, they occasionally produce a low clucking or croaking sound.

Quick Overview: Egretta Caerulea – Little Blue Heron
Body size: Around 24-29 in (61-74 cm) and a weight of 460 g (16.22 oz)
Main colors: Purple-Maroon, Gray, Black, Yellow, White, Blue, Green
Range: Eastern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: March, April, May, September, October, November
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Little Blue Heron Description

Sex similarities emerge, however, young appear to be unique from adults. Adults have a purple-maroon head and neck. The rest of the plumage is slate gray. The long neck is generally retained in an “S” shape at rest or in flight. The heron’s bill is long and slender, dark gray with a black tip. Black and yellow eyes. The juveniles’ all-white bodies set them apart from other herons. They have a blue bill with a black tip and dull green legs. During their first summer, fall, and winter, they are white, then molt to adult black in February.

Egretta Caerulea - Little Blue Heron found in the US
Egretta Caerulea – Little Blue Heron. Photo by: Henry

Size

These birds have a length of 24-29 in (61-74 cm) and a weight of 460 g (16.22 oz). Their wings could range from 40-41 in (102-104 cm).

Feeding

Egretta caerulea feeds primarily during the day. They are carnivores, eating fish, frogs, lizards, snakes, and turtles, as well as crustaceans such as fiddler crabs, crayfish, and shrimp. Additionally, they feed on aquatic insects and spiders. They feed on grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, and other grassland insects when swamps and marshes become dry.

Habitat

While Egretta caerulea frequently inhabits areas near saltwater, it is mostly an inland bird. They favor watery habitats such as ponds, lakes, marshes, swamps, and lagoons, but they will occasionally inhabit flooded and dry grasslands, as well as saltwater beaches.

Behavior

Egretta caerulea flies gracefully and powerfully. Their wingbeats are faster than those of larger herons, and they fly with their heads lowered and their legs extended to the back. Usually silent, they occasionally produce a low clucking or croaking sound. Their battle sounds are quite distinct and mimic parrot yells.

Egretta Caerulea Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Pelecaniformes
  • Family: Ardeidae
  • Genus: Egretta
  • Species: Egretta caerulea

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds are during the Spring season (March-May) and during the Autumn season (September – November).

Distribution of the Little Blue Heron in the USA

Found from Massachusetts to Florida, but is most plentiful along the Gulf of Mexico; also found in the West Indies and along both Mexican coasts south to South America.

The Little Blue Heron can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Egretta Caerulea – Little Blue Heron

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