Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias

This is the North American equivalent of our Grey Heron. It had not been recorded in the UK until 7th December 2007 when one was found on the Isles of Scilly. That bird was not seen the following day and was only seen by a handful of resident Scilly birders. Another turned up on the same islands in 2015 and stuck around long enough to be twitched by birders from the mainland.

The following photos were taken in the species' normal range of North America:

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Great Blue Heron, Sanibel Causeway (Florida, USA), 16th April 2013

 

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Great Blue Heron, Famosa Slough (California, USA), 19th April 2005

 

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Great Blue Herons, Tamiami Trail Loop Road (Florida, USA), 14th April 2013

 

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Great Blue Heron, Corkscrew Swamp (Florida, USA), 15th April 2013

 

Great Blue Heron, Babcock-Webb (Florida, USA), 15th April 2013

 

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Great Blue Heron, Corkscrew Swamp (Florida, USA), 16th April 2013

 

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Great Blue Heron, Famosa Slough (California, USA), 19th April 2005 (same bird as above)

 

Great Blue Heron, SE Salton Sea (California, USA), 23rd April 2005

 

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Great Blue Heron, McIntyre Reservoir (British Columbia, Canada), 13th September 2006

 

Great Blue Heron, Bartlett Park (California, USA), 5th May 2005

 

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Great Blue Herons (with Cattle Egret, lower right), Wakodahatchee (Florida, USA), 27th April 2013

 

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Great Blue Heron, Oyster Bay Shoreline Park (British Columbia, Canada), 12th September 2006

 

Great Blue Herons, Wakodahatchee (Florida, USA), 25th April 2013

 

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Great Blue Heron, McDonald Road, Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada), 7th September 2006

 

Great Blue Heron, Marina del Rey (California, USA), 18th April 2005

 

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Great Blue Heron, Esquimalt Lagoon (British Columbia, Canada), 9th September 2006

 

Great Blue Heron, Island View Beach (British Columbia, Canada), 10th September 2006

 

In the far south of Florida (mainly the Keys) a white form of Great Blue Heron occurs, known as Great White Heron. This form has in the past been treated as a colour morph of Great Blue Heron (a view which no longer seems to carry much favour), a subspecies of Great Blue Heron (how most authorities currently treat it, Ardea herodias occidentalis) or even a full species in its own right. Although there are a few records from well outside its normal range it seems an unlikely vagrant to Europe, whatever its taxonomic status.

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Great White Heron, Bush Key, Dry Tortugas (Florida, USA), 21st April 2013

 

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Great White Heron, Fort Zachary (Florida, USA), 23rd April 2013

 

Less often encountered are birds intermediate between Great White Heron and typical Great Blue Heron. Such intergrade or hybrid forms are known as Würdemann's Heron.

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Würdemann's Heron (hybrid/intergrade Great White Heron x Great Blue Heron), Long Key, Dry Tortugas (Florida, USA), 21st April 2013