Species 101: Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is a common sight in the waterways of Iowa. It is North America’s largest bird with a wingspan of 5.5 to 6.6 feet that exhibit slow and deep silent beats. They average 3 to 4.5 feet tall and live around 15 years in the wild.

They have beautiful blue-gray plumage. Their range includes most of North and Central America, the Caribbean and Galapagos Islands. They can be found along wetlands and marshes, and shorelines of fresh and slow moving rivers quietly foraging on fish, frogs, snakes, insects, turtles and salamanders.

The mating pair typically raise one brood per year in the north and two in the south in shrubs or trees near the water. The eggs are light blue in color and are incubated by both parents in 25-30 days. Then, they leave the nest at 65 to 90 days.

Photo Courtesy of Pam Wolter

Article info credits to: www.allaboutbirds.org; www.audubon.org; www.nationalgeographic.com; Wikipedia.com