Living Bird Magazine
Tricolored HeronEgretta tricolor
- ORDER: Pelecaniformes
- FAMILY: Ardeidae
The Tricolored Heron is a sleek and slender heron adorned in blue-gray, lavender, and white. The white stripe down the middle of its sinuous neck and its white belly set it apart from other dark herons. This fairly small heron wades through coastal waters in search of small fish, often running and stopping with quick turns and starts, as if dancing in a ballet. It builds stick nests in trees and shrubs, often in colonies with other wading birds. It’s common in southern saltmarshes and was once known as the Louisiana Heron.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Coastal estuaries are a great place to look for Tricolored Herons year-round. They tend to feed alone or at the edge of groups of other waders, so be sure to look at the lone dark bird in the corner. They also forage more commonly in open water and pools than Snowy Egrets and Little Blue Herons. Their white belly readily separates them from Little Blue Herons and Reddish Egrets, and their active foraging style separates them from the slow and methodical Great Blue Heron.
- Garceta Tricolor (Spanish)
- Aigrette tricolore (French)
- Cool Facts
- Tricolored Herons sometimes follow behind Double-crested Cormorants or Pied-billed Grebes snapping up fish that they stir up.
- Angsty teenagers aren't just a human phenomenon. As Tricolored Herons get older they often lunge and snap at their parents when they arrive at the nest with food. To appease the youngsters, parents greet them with bows.
- The oldest recorded Tricolored Heron was at least 17 years, 8 months old when it was shot in the Bahamas in 1976. It had been banded in Virginia in 1958.