~Friday’s Feathered Friend~ (Tricolored Heron)

~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

White breeding plumage, white belly, reddish brown streaks on foreneck
Slate-gray upper parts, white belly, reddish brown streaks on foreneck

Interesting Facts:

~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

"Do you see my breeding white plumes?"
“Do you see my white plumes?”

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.

Long yellowish legs, long dagger bill with black tip
Long yellowish legs, long dagger bill with black tip

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!


Enjoy Birdwatching!

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.

14 thoughts on “~Friday’s Feathered Friend~ (Tricolored Heron)”

  1. Beautiful photos, Sheila. You always seem to have that camera ready at the perfect time. What is your “birding life list?” Is it a record of the first time you’ve seen and identified a specific species?

    1. Hi Mary-Pat. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I seem to carry my camera everywhere, especially when out walking/hiking!

      “Birders” keep a list called “Birding Life List”. When we see a bird that we have not seen before we write it down and add it to our – Life List keeping track of how many total!

      I have a spreadsheet listing all the birds I have seen, where I saw them, the date, sometimes how many birds, etc. Try it!

      I hope you are having a blast!!

    1. Hey my friend! We are getting closer to getting home! We leave Mississippi this Sunday, will head to Covington, LA for a few days, with a few stops near Lafayette, LA, then head (probably) through Texas, which route – don’t know as yet.

      The Sandhills are Awesome! We have seen them on the west slope near Monte Vista!

      Hope you are doing well, see you soon!! TTMB

  2. It can also be addicting. My trip to the Gulf triggered an interest I never thought I’d possess. Now I’m ready to head to my favorite (sarcasm) state of Nebraska to see the Sandhill Cranes and snow geese. Obviously, my schedule won’t allow it this year but I’ve made a mental note for future years. Keep those bird photos coming 🙂

    1. Hi Ingrid!. Nice to hear from you!
      Yes, birding can be addicting. I am so glad you are enjoying this wonderful hobby! It goes so well with hiking/walking and photographing.

      Have you seen the Sandhills over in Monte Vista? We saw them there years ago; their numbers were in the hundreds. I have never seen them in Nebraska, It might be fun to travel there to see them!!

      Hope you are having fun filled days! When are you heading to Colorado?

      1. Last March we drove through NE to visit my dad in IL and we could see thousands of birds in the waterways off the interstate. Unfortunately it was a rushed trip and we couldn’t stop.
        I did not know about Monte Vista. I’ll need to look into that. We’ll be back in Grand Junction mid April and I’ll be in Westminster mid June for a couple of weeks. Perhaps we could meet for coffee 🙂

      2. We sure could, that would be nice! We will be home in Loveland Toward the middle or end of April. This summer we are doing something different, going to the west coast for a couple of months. Let’s see if our schedules allow a coffee/lunch/visit!!!

  3. Sheila, I’m impressed with the clear shots you were able to get. I keep hoping to get closer to our local herons–but they are shy. It’s good to see that both parents help incubate the eggs.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    1. Thank you Wendy! It is difficult, most of the time, to get close enough for a good shot. I am hoping to get a 400mm lens someday! These herons are camera shy!! It is always fun and a challenge to get a clear shot! Love trying! Take care, happy birding!!

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