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Little Blue Heron


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A small, dark heron arrayed in moody blues and purples, the Little Blue Heron is a common but inconspicuous resident of marshes and estuaries in the Southeast. They stalk shallow waters for small fish and amphibians, adopting a quiet, methodical approach that can make these gorgeous herons surprisingly easy to overlook at first glance. Little Blue Herons build stick nests in trees alongside other colonial waterbirds. In the U.S., their populations have been in a gradual decline since the mid-twentieth century.


Little Blue Herons are usually silent, but they can utter hoarse, harsh squawks and croaks.

Other Sounds

Little Blue Herons clack their bills to communicate. This can be a loud, forceful, aggressive snapping, or a gentle rattle usually given between members of a pair.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Find This Bird

Scan the edges of shallow water, particularly where there is adjacent emergent vegetation or overhanging bushes or trees, for this fairly inconspicuous heron. You’ll typically see them only in ones and twos, although they may gather with other herons and egrets, particularly at times when a school of small fish has become trapped in shallow water. In open, marshy habitats you may also see Little Blue Herons flapping slowly on rounded wings across the sky. Little Blue Herons often nest with other waterbirds, so if you can find an active colony, scan through the incoming and outgoing birds for small herons with completely dark plumage.

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