Facts About The Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is an aquatic bird found in the open water and wetlands of North America, Central America and the Caribbean islands. They are a beautiful sight when one sees them flying. They have a huge wingspan and keep their neck curved in an “S” shape while flying.

Common name: Great Blue Heron

Scientific name: Ardea herodias

Genus: Ardea

Family: Ardeidae

Diet: Carnivores

Lifespan: 15 years

Size: 3.2 to 4.5 ft (1 – 1.3 meters)

Wingspan: 5.5 to 6.6 ft (1.6 – 2.0 meters)

Weight: 4.6 to 7.3 lbs (1.8 – 3.6 Kg)

Found in the American Continents

The Great Blue Herons are found in the freshwater marshes, lakes, ponds, mangroves rivers and estuaries of North and Central America as well as the Caribbean Islands.

Often confused with cranes

Many people confuse the great blue heron for cranes.

How do great blue herons look like?

Great Blue Herons are thin birds with a long neck. Their wings are usually of blue-gray color with red-brown thighs and rust colored neck. They have a long yellow beak and a yellow iris. Younger birds have duller plumage, while the older ones look more vibrant.

Majestic but light in weight

When flying, these birds can have a wingspan of up to 6 feet. They stand 3.5 – 4.5 feet tall and measure 3 – 4 feet in length from their peak to tail. Noting their size, one might assume that they must be heavy. But they have very lightweight bones, hence giving them a weight of just 1.8 – 3.6 Kg.

What do great blue herons eat?

Great blue herons hunt during the day. They are patient hunters and wait until a prey swims near them. Great blue herons are carnivores with their diet mainly consisting of fish, frogs, lizards, turtles, lobsters, crabs, and some aquatic insects. They can feed in shallow waters, fields, and coasts.

How younger great blue herons are taken care of


Females lay 3 – 5 eggs. Both males and females incubate the eggs with the incubation lasting between 20 and 23 days. The new born great blue herons are fed by both the parents. They can jump to nearby branches by the age of 2 – 3 weeks and can make short flights at 4 weeks. They become independent at the age of 6 – 7 weeks.

More interesting facts about great blue herons

1. Great blue herons make their nests in trees or shrubs up to the height of 4 -5 meters.

2. Green herons are the smallest heron species measuring just 50 cm in height.

3. The eggs of a blue heron are pale blue in color.

4. How to differentiate between a crane and a blue heron? Cranes have a shorter beak and a straight neck. Whereas, blue herons have a long beak and a curved S shaped neck.

Leave a comment