Monday, January 11, 2016

Tricolored Heron (Louisiana Heron)- Up Close

Beautiful Tricolored Heron (Louisiana Heron) feeding or foraging in a variety of habitats. Much smaller than the Great Blue Heron.
On the southeastern coastal plain, the Tricolored Heron is a characteristic bird of quiet shallow waters. Strikingly slender, with long bill, neck, and legs, it is often seen wading belly-deep in coastal lagoons. Although it is solitary in its feeding, it is sociable in nesting, often in very large colonies with various other herons and egrets. Formerly known as Louisiana Heron.

A species of special concern in Florida: Most nesting colonies occur on mangrove islands or in willow thickets in fresh water, but nesting sites include other woody thickets on islands or over standing water. Prefers coastal environments. Feeds in a
variety of permanently and seasonally flooded wetlands, mangrove swamps, tidal creeks, ditches, and edges of ponds and lakes. Seasonal variation in water levels are particularly critical to nesting success, so alteration of wetlands used during breeding season can have negative consequences.

Forages in shallow water by standing still and waiting for prey to approach, or by walking very slowly; sometimes more active, stirring bottom sediments with one foot, or dashing in pursuit of schools of fish. Solitary in foraging, driving away others from small "feeding territory."

Mostly fish. Eats mainly small fish of no economic value, also crustaceans (crayfish, prawns), insects (aquatic insects and grasshoppers), tadpoles, frogs, salamanders, lizards, spiders.

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Tricolored Heron (Louisiana Heron)