Documentation of Little Blue Heron

Observer Information

Reporter:  Mike Hendrickson   
Other Observers:  David Trently and 11 birders from Tennessee; Yes

Species, Date, Time and Location Information

Species:  Little Blue Heron
First Date/Time:  4/24/2010
Last Date/Time: 
Duration (total time in view):  4-5 minutes
County:  Kiowa
Specific Location:  Sheridan Lake
Number:  1
Age:  Unknown
Sex:  Unknown
Plumage:  Other/Unknown


Lake Shore

Viewing Conditions

Optics:  Saworski 8X42
Distance:  100 yards
Light:  Sun was slightly to the S - SW and the bird was seen in the NE corner of Lake Sheridan.

Description of the Bird

On April 24th approximately at 11:30am I was leading a group of birders to Wray, Colorado. We stopped at Sheridan Lakes, CO to see what birds are to found on the lake.

The day was overcast and windy and temps around 50 degrees. As we drove down to the lake a group of 2 Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) were flushed along the lake shore along with a lone Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea).

The Little Blue Heron was in full breeding plumage.

Size: Roughly half the size of a Great Blue Heron

Bill: Smaller in length and width of a Great Blue Heron. Bi-colored bill - the inner half of the bill showed a pale blue color and the outer half being a darkish black color.

Upper parts: Smoky purplish blue color on most of the body except the neck was a lighter violet color that was seen in good light as the heron flew over us and then banked south over the lake.

Legs: were smaller in length compared to the Great Blue Heron and had a greenish color tone to them.

In flight the legs trailed behind the tail as most egrets / herons do in flight.

Time of observation: 4-5 minutes.

Experience: Seen many Little Blue Herons in Texas and Florida. Seen 3-4 Little Blue Herons in Minnesota.
Behaviors: Heron was most likely searching for food along the lake until my group flushed the bird as we approached the lake with our vehicles.
Call: None was given
Plumage: Breeding adult

Similar Species Discussion

I eliminated Green Heron by size and also Green Herons have a reddish neck and dark bill.

Tricolored Heron: Lower white belly and upper dark breast, even though they both of bi-colored bills the neck pattern was eliminated right away.

Reddish Egret: bi-colored bill had the wrong color with reddish egret having a fleshy pink base and dark tip. Also the reddish neck and feathering was eliminated from Little Blue Heron

Resources Used


Previous Experience

Seen many Little Blue Herons in Texas and Florida where I once lived in these states. I seen Little Blue Heron almost every day in these states. I also seen this casual species in Minnesota.


Notes made AFTER observation

Additional Information

Comments: none
Time: 11:30am
Elevation: 4,000
Other Dates: None
Nearest Town: Sheridan Lake
Independent Observers: Yes

Materials Available

No files uploaded.

Date Documentation Submitted

5/1/2010 10:20:00 AM