Ardea herodias Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
One of Florida’s most commonly seen large birds, Great blue herons become quite tame around people and are often seen ‘stalking’ fishermen in the hopes of a handout. Great blue herons are distinguished by their large size – they are up to 4 feet tall and have blue-grey plumage, a large yellow bill and a prominent black stripe above the eye.
Florida great blue herons are slightly paler than birds from more northern states, and in parts of south Florida and the Keys there is even a completely white morph that used to be known as the great white heron. Today, most experts consider it a color morph rather than a separate species – but keep an eye out for a large white heron-like bird with yellow bill, yellow legs and no eye stripe when you are in the Keys.
Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
Great blue herons usually hunt by standing in the shallows looking for fish, frogs and other aquatic life. However, they have also been seen taking rails and small mammals.
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