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Tricolored Heron Egretta tricolor


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Tricolored Heron
credit: Dick Daniels/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Alternate name: Louisiana Heron

Family: Ardeidae, Herons, Egrets, Bitterns view all from this family

Description ADULT BREEDING Has mostly blue-gray head, neck, back, and upper wings, with white underparts and rufous-tinged pale line down center of throat and neck. Note the purplish plumes on scapulars and lower neck. Lores and base of dark-tipped bill are bluish. ADULT NONBREEDING Similar, but lores and base of bill are yellowish and line down center of throat and neck is white. JUVENILE recalls nonbreeding adult but blue-gray elements of plumage on head, neck, scapulars, and wing covers are reddish chestnut.

Dimensions Length: 25-30" (64-76 cm); Wngspn: 3' 2" (97 cm)

Habitat Fairly common in coastal swamps on Gulf and Atlantic coasts; resident in warmer, southern regions with range extending further north in spring and summer.

Observation Tips Easy to see in Florida's Everglades and Mississippi bayous.

Range Texas, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Southeast, Florida, Plains, Southwest

Voice Utters a harsh waaah.

Discussion Striking and unmistakably slender, coastal heron. Feeds mainly on fish and often wades in a stately manner in deep water, or more actively pursues prey in shallows. Nests colonially, often alongside other heron species. Sexes are similar.