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Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is a majestic wading bird from North America. The largest of the American herons it lives in swamps marshes shores and tide flats. The Great Blue Heron flies with slow wing beats. It has a deep raspy call that sounds like “frahnk frahnk frahnk.” The scientific name of the Great Blue Heron is Ardea herodias (genus and species).

Anatomy: The Great Blue Heron is about 4 ft (1.3 m) tall and has a wingspan of up to 6 ft (1.8 m). Its body has gray feathers the neck is brown and the thighs are reddish brown. The cheeks throat and crown (the front of crest) are white but the rest of the crest is bluish-black. The bill is dull yellow and the long legs are pale brown.

Diet: The Great Blue Heron eats fish lizards frogs crawfish rodents and insects. It hunts in shallow water usually impaling the prey on its long sharp bill. It then tosses the dead prey into the air and catches it with its mouth.

Eggs and Nests: The Great Blue Heron’s nest is a platform of twigs and sticks that is built in trees on cliffs or on the ground. These birds nest in colonies called rookeries. Females lay 3-7 pale green eggs in each clutch (a set of eggs laid at one time).