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Tricolored heron
Tricolor Heron with Fish - Flickr - Andrea Westmoreland.jpg
Egretta tricolor on Marco Island, Florida
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Genus:
Egretta
Species:
tricolor
Egretta tricolor map.svg
Range of E. tricolor      Breeding range     Year-round range     Wintering range

The tricolored heron (Egretta tricolor), formerly known as the Louisiana heron, is a small species of heron native to coastal parts of the Americas; in the Atlantic region, it ranges from the northeastern United States, south along the coast, through the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, to northern South America as far south as Brazil. In the Pacific region, it ranges from Peru to California, but it is only a nonbreeding visitor to the far north.

Habitat and breeding

Tricolored herons breed in swamps and other coastal habitats. They nest in colonies, often with other herons, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. In each clutch, three to seven eggs are typically laid.

Description

This species measures from 56 to 76 cm (22 to 30 in) long and has a typical wingspan of 96 cm (38 in). The slightly larger male heron weighs 415 g (14.6 oz) on average, while the female averages 334 g (11.8 oz). It is a medium-large, long-legged, long-necked heron with a long, pointed, yellowish or greyish bill with a black tip. Its legs and feet are dark.

Adults have a blue-grey head, neck, back, and upper wings, with a white line along the neck. The belly is white. In breeding plumage, they have long, blue, filamentous plumes on their heads and necks, and buff ones on their backs.

Behavior and diet

The tricolored heron stalks its prey in shallow or deeper water, often running as it does so. It eats fish, crustaceans, reptiles, and insects.

Gallery

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