Bird: Tricolored (Louisiana) Heron (Egretta tricolor)

Height: 26"

Identification: Medium-sized heron with dark slate-blue feathers on head, upper neck, and back. Skin around eyes is bright yellow. Bill is long and mostly yellow with a dark upper-tip. Legs and feet are long and greenish-yellow. Lower part of neck is streaked with white and breast is solid white. Immature bird is brown on back of neck and streaked brown on wings.

Voice: Repeated, guttural squawk, sounds like "rahhhk, rahhhk, rahhhhk." Given when startled, hunting or in aggression. Audio is available on

Tricolored Heron 1

Feeding: Stands absolutely still with head cocked to sight prey, then charges after it and catches it with an amazingly fast thrust of its beak into the water. Will flare wings during chase and strike. Eats small fish and frogs.

Behavior at Wakodahatchee: Tricolored Herons actively defend hunting territories and will charge or fly at intruding Tricolored Herons. They are also aggressive toward Snowy Egrets. The Tricolored Herons at Wakodahatchee are very accustomed to people and will often perch on the hand-rails and allow approach within a few feet. They are graceful hunters, and it is amusing to watch their speedy pursuit of their prey.

Tricolored Heron 2

Click here for more information on The Tricolored Heron from

Tricolored Heron 3

The Tricolor Heron is common at Wakodahatchee in the winter. I saw them return in numbers this year around the middle of October. I started seeing a number of young Tricolor Herons earlier than that and a limited number stayed all year. Tricolor is a brave bird. I've stood less than two feet from one that was perched on the railing of the boardwalk. They commonly perch there and pose for visitors. They are shy of cameras when active and hunting (usually run under the boardwalk and wait for me to give up), but are brave and will give you a great shot if you catch them resting or preening.

Tricolored Heron 4

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