Family Herons (Ardeidae)

Least Concern

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)


French: Aigrette bleue German: Blaureiher Spanish: Garceta azul

Ardea caerulea


, 1758,

South Carolina, USA


Sometimes placed in monospecific genus Florida. Monotypic.


E USA from S Maine S to Florida, thence to E Mexico and West Indies; also from S part of Gulf of California through Central America into N half of South America, extending S to SW Peru, Bolivia and S Brazil (Paraná). Wintering birds from S USA to N South America; rare migrant in Paraguay, and apparently spreading S into Argentina.

Descriptive notes

51–76 cm; 296–460 g; wingspan 95–106 cm. General coloration varies in shade; mauve to maroon tinge on neck also varies in extent, while some birds may... read more


Generally considered to be rather quiet, but gives a “scah” or “sken” in threat or aggression, a “... read more


Mainly inland, in freshwater pools, lakes, marshes, rivers, canals, reservoirs, sewage works,... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly bottom-dwelling or otherwise slow-moving invertebrates, crabs, crayfish and aquatic insects (e.g. flies, dragonflies, etc.); also... read more


In Florida Dec–Jun, but generally Apr–May in rest of North America; in E Caribbean including Trinidad & Tobago, Feb–... read more


In North America, extensive post-breeding dispersal of up to 1000 km, especially towards N,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Populations considered to be overall stable throughout range, although species is hard to census. Common in USA, where an estimated... read more

Recommended citation

Martínez-Vilalta, A., Motis, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 February 2020).