Tricolored Herons

/, Florida, Tricolored Herons/Tricolored Herons

Hunting Tricolored Heron Tricolored Heron fishing on the shore of Fort De Soto’s north beach –  D200, handheld, laying in the sand & water at the shoreline, f7.1, 1/750, ISO 200, 80-400mm VR at 270mm, natural light

Another one of my favorite wading birds is the Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor), a bird that used to be called the Louisiana Heron. It can be found in estuaries along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, in inland freshwater marshes in Florida. It had been confined to the southeastern United States but has spread since the 1940’s to breed as far north as Maine and was seen and photographed by a photographer friend of mine; Jim DeWitt, in Idaho, which was only the second documented Tricolored in the state of Idaho.  Northern populations are migratory. This species is also widespread in Central and South America.

Tricolored Herons are very active when feeding, they dash, stretch their necks out to strike their prey and occasionally they use their wings to shade the water to spot fish. Tricolored Herons mainly eat fish but  I have also seen them eat shrimp.

When Tricolored Herons are in breeding plumage the lores and part of the bill closest to the face become blue and the eye becomes much redder. The heron above is in nonbreeding plumage.


Similar species

Little Blue Heron - Great Blue Heron comparison