Friday, February 10, 2012

Little Blue Heron

The Little Blue Heron inhabits the southern United States and even wanders occasionally into southern Canada. This is a common, but often overlooked, heron. This species lacks the long plumes of other herons and egrets and, thus, populations were never decimated by the plume hunters of the 1800s.

Like the Reddish Egret, Little Blue Herons come in all-white and all-dark plumages. This dimorphism, however, is different. Little Blue Herons are unique among herons in that these plumages are correlated with the age of the bird. Young are white, older birds are dark. A white young bird molting into its dark adult plumage is sometimes called a Calico Heron.

The first photo was taken in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary run by the Audubon Society. At any price, Corkscrew is a must-see location for birders visiting Florida--Audubon members are offered admission discounts. The young bird below was photographed in the Everglades National Park, another hotspot for birders.

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