Distinguishing Green Herons From Great Blue Herons

Green Heron

Green Heron Photo By Peter Wallack


Identifying Them:

Green Herons look like Great Blue Herons but they have a brown chest and greenish-grey wings. Great Blue Herons have long necks that make an S shape when they fly but Green Herons have very short necks. Another difference between them is that Green Herons are smaller than Great Blue Herons. Green Herons are 17 inches while Great Blue Herons are 45-54 inches. Green Heron’s wingspan are about 26 inches which are about 8 inches less than twice the size of a Green Heron’s length.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron


Green Herons breed in marshes, wetlands, ponds, lakes and swamps. They live mostly in the Eastern United States, but a little in the Western Oregon, Western Washington and Western California. You can find the map of their range at: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Green_Heron/lifehistory
In the winter they will spend time in southern coastal areas of their range.

Nesting and Nestlings:

The Male Green Heron will choose the nest site which is usually in the fork of a tree. Green Herons have a large variety of tree species that they will nest in, including cedar, oak, willows and pines. Nest locations are usually close to a body of water for them to easily catch food from, but they can be as far as a half mile away from water if there aren’t any good spots. They don’t tend to nest that far from the ground but sometimes will nest higher than 30 feet off of the ground.

The male gathers the supplies for the nest like twigs, leaves, moss and other things. The female then mends and weaves the things together. Their nests aren’t that deep but are very wide, with a width of 12 inches and a depth of 2 inches. Green Herons will sometimes use old nests from other birds and build over it adding a few twigs or making it firmer to their liking. Occasionally, they will take a few supplies from other nests and add it to their own nests. They will add twigs to their nests throughout the breeding season.

The female will lay 3 to 5 eggs and will incubate them for up to 3 weeks. When their babies hatch, they are fed regurgitated food by their parents. Their parents take care of them for about 3 weeks and then are capable fliers. Though they leave the nest and fly around, their parents feed them for another month.




Like Great Blue Herons, they are great fisherman and hunt by walking slowly through the water or standing by the edge of the lake, pond or river like fishermen, they catch fish using bait. Feathers, twigs or berries are collected and dropped into the water, then, when fish come up and gather around it, they snatch it in their beak. They eat Crayfish and other crustaceans, and the hunting takes place in the water, so they may also eat frogs, water snakes and aquatic insects.




About faithelise

I love learning about species of birds and want to be an Ornathologist. Writing about birds is my passion and I love every part of it!
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