Nature Journal
with Photos

Little Blue Heron Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
General Information
- Sexes similar
- Medium-sized long-legged long-necked wader
- Usually holds neck in an "S" curve at rest and in flight
- Bill long and pointed
- Dull green legs

Adult alternate

- Blue-gray black-tipped bill
- Blue-gray belly, back and wings
- Chestnut head and neck
- Shaggy neck plumes

Adult basic
- Blue-gray black-tipped bill
- Head and neck blue-gray like body
- Lacks shaggy neck plumes

- White body plumage
- Blue-gray tips to the outer primaries visible from
   below when bird is in flight
- Gray lores
- Black-tipped bill usually with blue-gray base, but
   occasionally yellow or flesh
- In their first spring or first summer, immatures start
   gaining the adults' dark plumage and can be mottled
   with blue-gray and white.

Similar species

Adults are similar only to Reddish Egret, which is much larger and bigger-billed, and has a paler reddish neck, shaggier neck, and head plumes and blue-gray legs.

Immature Snowy Egrets are similar to immature Little Blues but have black legs with a yellow stripe up the back, yellow feet, and yellow lores, and lack the blue-gray primary tips, and, usually, lack the two-toned bill.

Adult white morph Reddish Egrets can be similar to immature Little Blues but are much larger, have blue-gray legs, shaggy neck and head plumes and a pink base to the bill. Immature white morph Reddish Egrets can be separated by the larger bill, bluish legs, and lack of blue-gray primary tips.
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