Little Blue Heron

An hour before sunset, while everyone was eagerly watching the skies for other more showy birds flying in to roost, I spotted this lovely adult Little Blue Heron hiding in the marsh.IMG_3590.jpg How do I know this blue-gray bird is an adult? Because, curiously, Little Blue Herons are completely white when young. The white juvenile Little Blues are often mistaken for other species of white egrets or herons, with whom they forage. Watch this 1-minute video clip to see what I mean – Audubon Moment.

If you look closely, you can easily distinguish the young, totally white Little Blue Heron from other wading birds by its slow, deliberate movements, greenish legs, and two-toned blue beak. (See more at All About Birds).

As the months pass, the juveniles develop patches of blue, like this fellow below, until they finally molt into their dusky blue and purple adult plumage.IMG_9691 Check out a Birder’s Journey post from March 2017 that illustrates this remarkable change in coloring – The little blue wading bird who starts out white.

17 thoughts on “Little Blue Heron

    • Yes, here, for example is how it’s described in All About Birds:
      “Little Blue Herons may gain a survival advantage by wearing white during their first year of life. Immature birds are likelier than their blue elders to be tolerated by Snowy Egrets—and in the egrets’ company, they catch more fish. Mingling in mixed-species flocks of white herons, immature Little Blue Herons probably also acquire extra protection against predators.”

    • Thank you and thanks for stopping by, Tiny! I think it’s their ‘demeanor’ and foraging behavior that became the real clue for me. ☺️ I need to check your latest posts to see what you are up to since your trip home. I know the Gulf coast has been hit really hard by the red tide this year, but not sure if it reached your area.

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