Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)

Little Blue Heron

[order] CICONIIFORMES | [family] Ardeidae | [latin] Egretta caerulea | [authority] Linnaeus, 1758 | [UK] Little Blue Heron | [FR] Aigrette bleue | [DE] Blaureiher | [ES] Garceta Azul | [NL] Kleine Blauwe Reiger


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Egretta caerulea NA, LA se USA to s Brazil


Egretta is a genus of medium-sized herons, mostly breeding in warmer climates. Representatives of this family are found in most of the world, and the Little Egret, as well as being widespread throughout much of the Old World, has now started to colonise the Americas. Little Egret Egretta garzetta in Kolleru, Andhra Pradesh, India.These are typical egrets in shape, long-necked and long-legged. There are few plumage features in common, although several have plumes in breeding plumage; a number of species are either white in all plumages, have a white morph (e.g. Reddish Egret), or have a white juvenile plumage (Little Blue Heron). The breeding habitat of Egretta herons is marshy wetlands in warm countries. They nest in colonies, often with other wading birds, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs.

Physical charateristics

Medium-sized all dark blue long-legged long-necked wader.
Usually holds neck in an “S” curve at rest and in flight
The bill is long and pointed and seems a little decurved.
Dull green legs, Sexes similar.

Listen to the sound of Little Blue Heron

[audio: Blue Heron.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 120 cm wingspan max.: 130 cm
size min.: 55 cm size max.: 70 cm
incubation min.: 42 days incubation max.: 49 days
fledging min.: 28 days fledging max.: 49 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 6  


North America, Latin America : Southeast USA to South Brazil


This species inhabits mangroves, coastal mudflats, wetlands, rivers and lakes. It is somewhat more common in coastal regions.


Breeds in periphery of mixed colonies, in trees 0.5 to 2 meters above ground or water. nest is a platform made of small sticks lined with grass. Clutch size is is 3-6 eggs, incubated for about 23 days, young feldge after 30 days, but parents feed up until 50 days after leaving the nest.

Feeding habits

Feeds by slowly walking through shallow water, mostly aquatic Invertebrates and fish.

Video Little Blue Heron


copyright: R. J. Schaefer


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Very common species in urban and wild areas in Surinam, can be seen flying along the main river in Paramaribo. Usually together with tricolored herons or Snowy Egrets.
Little Blue Heron status Least Concern


In N America, extensive post-breeding dispersal towards N, especially of juveniles, with some birds reaching Canada and even occasionally Greenland. Population of USA migratory: birds from E move through Florida towards Cuba; those from W head towards Gulf of Mexico and Yucatan (SE Mexico); wintering birds occur from S USA to N South America. In Caribbean, at least some birds sedentary. Rare migrant to Paraguay, and accidental S into Argentina.

Distribution map

Little Blue Heron distribution range map


Title Breeding biology of the little blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) in southeastern Brazil.
Author(s): F

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