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Audubon Center for Birds of Prey

Pelecaniformes > Ardeidae

Great Blue Heron

Ardea herodias

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Huge gray heron, no other similar species in range. Note large yellow-orange bill, short black plumes on head, and black and chestnut pattern on shoulder. Immatures are more brownish than adults, and have a dark crown. Fairly common and widespread throughout North America; wintering range extends to northern South America. Occurs in almost any wetland habitat, from small ponds to marshes to saltwater bays. Usually seen singly but can gather in numbers where food is plentiful. White form, sometimes considered a separate species (“Great White Heron”), is found in southern Florida and the Caribbean. It is most similar to Great Egret but has a larger bill.



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Great Blue Heron

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