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Green Heron Butorides virescens


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Green Heron, adult breeding
credit: Peter Wallack/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Ardeidae, Herons, Egrets, Bitterns view all from this family

Description ADULT Has dark green crown, rufous-maroon face and neck, and white running from throat down center of neck and breast to whitish belly. Upperparts are otherwise greenish gray; wing feathers have pale margins. JUVENILE Mainly brown, tinged rufous on face and with rufous streaks on otherwise paler throat, neck, and breast.

Dimensions Length: 16-22" (41-56 cm)

Habitat Locally common wetland bird. Summer migrant to north and interior parts of range, present mainly May-Sep; moves south and to coastal districts outside breeding season and winter range extends to Central America.

Observation Tips Unobtrusive, but not unduly wary; easy to see in Everglades in winter.

Range Eastern Canada, Western Canada, New England, Northwest, Southeast, Florida, Plains, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, California, Texas, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic

Voice Utters a sharp skeeow call in flight.

Discussion Small, compact heron. Colorful adult blends in surprisingly well with dappled waterside vegetation. Often perches on branches overhanging water, remaining motionless for minutes on end while waiting for prey such as fish and amphibians to pass within stabbing range. Bill is proportionately long and daggerlike. Sexes are similar.