~Tricolored Heron – slate-gray upper parts, white underparts, long yellowish bill with dark tip, reddish brown streaks on fore neck, dull yellow long legs
Added to my Birding Life List on April 14, 1993
~Tricolored refers to the dark upper parts, white underparts and the reddish brown strips on the fore neck
~The Tricolored Heron measures about 26 inches long and weighs 13 ounces, with a 36-inch wingspan
~The only heron with a dark body and white belly
~One of the most abundant herons found in the Deep South
~Formerly called the Louisiana Heron
~In breeding plumage there are white plumes on the back of the lower neck, crown and back
~Stalks its prey in shallow or deeper water, goes deeper out in the water than other herons
Breeding and Nesting: Three or four light blue green eggs are laid on a platform nest made of stems and twigs, occasionally lined with grass; nests in mixed-species rookeries on coastal islands, although some may nest in swamp forests. Both parents incubate eggs for about 21 days.
Range and Habitat: Breeds in southeastern New Mexico and Texas, on the Gulf Coast, and along the Atlantic coast north to southern Maine (rarely). Spends winters along the coast from Texas and New Jersey south to northern South America and West Indies. Preferred habitats include swamps, bayous, coastal ponds, salt marshes, mangrove islands, mudflats, and lagoons.
I captured these photos on March 9, 2014 while staying at Meaher State Park in Spanish Fort, Alabama. He was hunting along the shore of the Bay. The entire time he was searching for food one of the two resident alligators was slowly swimming toward him. I don’t know what I would have done if the alligator got close enough to strike – scare the heron away or let nature take its course.
Just as I am! Every Friday you may participate in Feathers on Friday at Prairie Birder.
Here is Charlotte’s Blog web-site:
This is another great Blog to learn about Birds!
It can be entertaining as well as educational!
Note:Some of my information for this post was taken from Field Guide to Birds of North America, Smithsonian Handbook, Birds of North America and Cornell Lad of Ornithology and their website All About Birds.