Fun Great Blue Heron Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Great Blue Heron Facts For Kids

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The great blue heron is a native of North America. Among all living herons, it has been surpassed in size by only the goliath heron (Ardea) and the great white heron. It exhibits a minor degree of sexual dimorphism, with males being slightly larger than females. However, the two sexes don't seem to be externally distinguishable and to the naked eye, a male and female bird of this species look relatively the same.

Males are a bit larger, with longer decorative plumes on their heads and necks. Breeding pairs are only seen together when they're in the nest while they are raising their young. They rest in a sheltered spot by folding up their neck and sitting quietly during the daytime. Meanwhile, at night, they sleep in trees.

If you like these facts, read our articles on the night heron and the little blue heron too.

Fun Great Blue Heron Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Shrimp, crabs, aquatic insects, rodents, small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, ducklings

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

4–8 lb (1.8–3.6 kg)

How long are they?

35-54 in (91–1.37 m)

How tall are they?

45–54 in (115–138 cm)

What do they look like?


Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Bald Eagles

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Swamps, Mangroves, Nests, Fresh And Saltwater Ground Marshes


North America And Central America









Great Blue Heron Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a great blue heron?

Great blue herons (Ardea herodias) are huge wading birds and expert anglers.

What class of animal does a great blue heron belong to?

Great blue herons belong to the class Aves.

How many great blue herons are there in the world?

With about 60 species of great blue herons across a global range, their population is estimated to be between 100,000-250,000.

Where does a great blue heron live?

These North American birds live in ground marshes, mangroves, swamps, near flooded meadows, near lake edges, and near water. They also live on nests on the ground or in bushes and trees.

What is a great blue heron habitat?

This blue heron (great) has a range that covers North America and Central America. It will adapt to nearly any land habitats in its range. This bird is found in abundance on ground marshes, flowering trees, swamp habitats, near flooded meadows, near lake edges, or along shorelines. They are also spotted in heavily developed areas near bodies of fish-bearing water.

Who does a great blue heron live with?

These North American great blue herons from the family Ardeidae are sociable birds while nesting. They live in groups in a nest.

How long does a great blue heron live?

Their average lifespan is 15 years.

How do they reproduce?

Great blue herons, like all birds, don't have live births. Instead, the adult female lays eggs, which are incubated in a nest for 27-29 days before they hatch. The breeding season for blue herons is from March to May in the north and from November to April in the south. Females lay two to seven eggs, and both parents participate in incubating them. Incubation is the method of keeping the egg heated. It means that the baby is protected by its parents while it's developing. The eggs hatch within four weeks and babies leave the nest and their parents behind after two months.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of great blue herons is considered as Least Concern. Non-profit organizations like the National Audubon Society work towards the preservation of this bird and other wildlife species. The National Audubon Society is an American organization located in the US that works towards the preservation of wildlife.

Great Blue Heron Fun Facts

What do great blue herons look like?

Great blue herons are blue-gray in color with a black stripe. In-flight, the top side of the wing is two-toned: pale on the wing and darker on the flight feathers. The bill becomes orange at the beginning of the breeding season. North American great herons have long legs, a sinuate neck, and a thick, daggerlike bill. Their head, chest, and wing plumes provide a shaggy look. While flying, the great blue heron curls its neck into an 'S' shape. Its wings are broad and rounded. These North American birds are sizeable birds at 36–54 in (91–137 cm) long, and their wingspan is 66–79 in (167–201 cm).

The great blue heron has a relative in Florida called the great white heron.

How cute are they?

There are very beautiful North American birds that live in a nest on treetops. This bird's head and neck are very cute!

How do they communicate?

These North American birds are typically seen creating varied croaking sounds to communicate to others in their range. They communicate in order to mate, to defend their territory, and even out of curiosity to find out what's happening in their habitat. They make their nests in tall trees.

How big is a great blue heron?

The great blue heron (Ardea herodias) bird is a sizeable bird that is 36–54 in (91–137 cm) long and has a wingspan of 66–79 in (167–201 cm).

How fast can great blue herons run?

A great blue heron (Ardea herodias) can run at about 20-30 mph (32-48 kph). However, their speed of flight is unknown.

How much do great blue herons weigh?

A great blue heron (Ardea herodias) weighs 4–8 lb (1.8–3.6 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Great blue herons have no specific names for male and female birds. Both males and females of the species are simply called great blue herons. Male and female birds of this species look very similar; their distinctions are slight and variable. Pairs are only seen together if they're in the nest where they raise their young.

What would you call a baby great blue heron?

Young great blue herons are called hatchlings, chicks, and nestlings.

What do they eat?

The great blue heron's diet isn't restricted to only fish. They are predators of insects and aquatic insects as well. They eat amphibians, reptiles, fish, small mammals, and birds of many species, such as baby ducks as food. They prey under shallow water. The great blue heron (Ardea herodias) species typically hunts in terrestrial environments, generally preying on rodents such as mice and rats.

Are they dangerous?

Great blue herons, like several wild creatures, like to be free from human disturbance. Therefore, great blue herons can exhibit aggressive behavior in wildlife, especially when their young birds are cornered.

Would they make a good pet?

No, great blue herons don't make good pets. Even when young, they are huge birds and require a varied diet that can only be found in wildlife. In many places, it is illegal to own or harm them. These birds live in stick nests and prey for food in the wild. In addition, they can display very aggressive behavior if cornered.

Did you know...

The great blue heron (Ardea herodias) is one of the most beautiful and majestic birds in America. One of their major predators is the bald eagle.

The bill of this bird is chromatic, turning orange shortly at the beginning of the breeding season. The lower legs and the feet are gray, and these also turn orange at the start of the breeding season.

One fact about this heron (great blue) is that these birds (both adults and young birds) are at risk of choking when they attempt to eat large fish.

One difference between great blue herons and blue herons is that blue herons are much smaller, and they don't have yellow bills and darker crowns. Great blues also have a longer neck.

What is the difference between a blue heron and a grey heron?

A visible distinction between great blue herons and grey herons is the crown's darkness on the neck. Great blue herons typically show in-depth black caps, while grey herons of the cinerea group typically show medium, pale blue, and dark gray caps. Despite these differences, they are similar species.

Can great blue herons swim?

Yes, great blue herons of southern Florida hover before dropping (feet-first) to select prey off the surface of the water. They then swim in the water itself. They enjoy living near water.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our bird of paradise facts and green heron facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable great blue heron coloring pages.

Written By
Divya Raghav

Divya Raghav dons many hats, that of a writer, a community manager, and a strategist. She was born and raised in Bangalore. After completing her Bachelor’s in Commerce from Christ University, she is pursuing her MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. With diverse experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. She loves to bake, dance, and write content and is an avid animal lover.

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