Crouching Tricolored Herons

Crouching Tricolored HeronCrouching Tricolored Heron – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 160, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Tricolored Herons use many foraging behaviors to obtain their prey including walking quickly then crouching before stabbing their prey. For some reason when I see this behavior I think of a crouching tiger even though herons are birds not tigers.

Crouched Tricolored HeronCrouched Tricolored Heron – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 330mm, natural light, not baited

When I was in Florida I observed the crouching behavior in Tricolored Herons on the Gulf shore more often than when I saw them foraging in tidal lagoons. That might be because the wave action of the Gulf of Mexico pushes small baitfish towards the shore making their prey more available and in tidal lagoons the waves are smaller and the water is often calmer.

These Tricolored Heron images were taken about a month and a half apart in nearly the same location at Fort De Soto County Park’s north beach. It is possible that the images are of the same heron but it is also possible that they are two different birds.


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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. Patty Chadwick

    I can see why you think of tigers about to leap? These guys look like living spears…..

  2. What an amazing thing to see. Thank you.

  3. Very interesting behavior and wonderful photos. BTW, I noticed my hummingbird feeder was getting low (been out of town) and this morning I saw what appeared to be a beautiful male Bullock’s Oriole drinking from the feeder, behavior I have never seen before!

  4. Low angle makes these images particularly nice!

  5. Wow! Great photos in so many ways.. Love the stark detail of the bird against the background.. and he action of crouching has a ‘stealth’ element

  6. Super photos as always!

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