Tricolored Heron striking at prey

Tricolored Splash Down

Tricolored heron striking at prey – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

This Tricolored Heron image has always intrigued and amused me. I’m amused because I caught the moment just before the Tricolored Heron’s head submerged under the water and that I still managed to get eye contact, I am intrigued by how these herons evolved to have long necks that give them the ability to make lightning fast strikes at their prey some distance from their bodies. This Tricolored Heron had been slowly walking when it spotted its prey and struck at it. The heron missed the prey with this attempt but caught quite a few as the heron hunted close to me while I photographed it in a quiet lagoon in Florida.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Great timing getting it at maximum stretch, as well as the eye contact. The relative stillness of the water around the bird is pretty amazing too.

  2. Excellent shot, particularly the reflection symmetry!

  3. What an image! I love your heron shots Mia. Makes me a bit jealous, but I’m so thankful for the chance to see such striking captures. Keep sharing!

  4. I also love the little blip of water – shows the movement of the strike.

  5. I love heron images, such different looking birds.

  6. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    Hi, Mia, This photo creates such an urge in me to create a comic strip of your tricolored heron’s life along the shore! Your shot really had me not only laughing but also enjoying the wonder…as you say of their evolution and ability to navigate the vicissitudes of life.

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