Just moments before he flew off, I spotted this flashy Tri-colored Heron (sometimes still called the Louisiana Heron), in the pond this morning. Notice his slender, spear-like bill – compared to his head size, it is proportionately the longest bill of all the herons (The New Stokes Field Guide to Birds, Eastern Region, 2013). The Heron engaged in what David Sibley calls ‘peering over’ behavior, pointing his bill downward and spreading his wing over the shallow water. This behavior probably helps the bird maintain balance, and also creates a shadow and reduces glare, making small fish and other small aquatic creatures more visible. (The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, 2013)He had the pond to himself, and alternated between fishing and preening, as he got ready to start his day.
Widespread year-round in Florida, the Tri-colored Heron can be found “down through the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, to northern Brazil [as well as] on the Pacific Coast from Baja California down to Ecuador.” (Florida FWC)