Green Heron
Butorides striatus
Family: Ardeidae

Green Heron
Green Heron
Picture Info
The Green Heron is a small wading bird with a long neck, green-black cap, short chestnut face (on sides) and neck, deep dark green upperparts and dark underparts, yellow to deep orange eyes and greenish-yellow legs. The female is similar to the male except smaller. This bird is 17-22" in length with a wingspan of 25-26".

The Green Heron is the smallest North American heron and can be found along rivers, seas lakes and ponds. In spring, they migrate from the southern US, West Indies, Venezuela or Panama to the northern states in flocks consisting of 20-50 and prior to winter they return back south in smaller flocks.

When not feeding during the day, they rest in elevated dead branches, stumps, tree or bush.


The song of the Green Heron is a sharp croak-like qua qua.


Migratory. Winters in southern US from California to Florida, Venezuela, Panama and West Indies. Breeds across most of the western and eastern US.


During the breeding season, they erect their neck feathers, swelling their throats and uttering a croak-like qua qua which is repeated several times by the male while he is strutting about the female.

The nest is flat and composed of sticks, which are loosely arranged, leaves, and twigs that can be found in orchards, hardwood trees, and near an open marsh or reeds. The nest is usually 10-15 feet above the ground. During the months of Mid-March to Early June, as many as 3-5 sea-green or pale green eggs are laid. Incubation is by both sexes which takes approximately 19-21 days with the first young leaving the nest 21-23 days after hatching. The young obtain their adult plumage during the second spring.

Natural Feeding Habits:

This bird's food consists of frogs, fishes, snails, tadpoles, crayfish and crabs, crickets, dragonflies, water bugs and sometimes small snakes and mice. They feed during the day, mostly early morning and evening, standing along a shoreline of a lake, pond or river standing motionless, crouched with head and neck extended waiting for their prey. They will sometimes dive into the water to catch a fish. During the day, they rest in elevated dead branches, stumps, tree or bush.

Other Names:

Another name for the Green Heron is "Little Green Heron".

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