Florida Birds – Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron ( Ardea Herodias)

The Great Blue Heron is a wading bird found all over North, Central and South America. It is found near freshwater wetlands where it nests and forages for food,  mostly fish but also eats amphibians, reptiles and insects. They have slow deliberate movements and wade along a lake, river or swamp until it sees its prey. It then strikes and grabs its prey with it’s long bill and swallows it whole. The Blue Heron can sometimes kill itself by trying to swallow something too large. The Great Blue Heron can be distinguished from the Little Blue Heron and Tri-Colored Heron by it’s long slender neck which can be curled into an S shaped curve during flight or before it strikes it prey. It’s deep blue and grayish color is beautiful to look at and makes a sharp contrast to the grass and banks of wetlands it lives in. It is one of my favorite birds to look at. Carolus Linnaeus, the father of taxonomy or the naming of animals and plant species, listed the Great Blue Heron among thousands of other species in his famous Systema Naturae published in the 1800’s.  I found some great pictures of the Great Blue Heron at Bing’s Website of Images .  I also like the All About Birds Website by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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