Little Blue heron

(Egretta caerulea)


Little Blue heron IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The little blue heron is a rather small heron, with a body length of 61 cm and a body-weight of 350 g. cm. It is slender, and has a long bill and a very long, slender neck. The colour of body and wings is dark bluish-grey, head and neck dull, dark maroon. The facial skin is grey, the iris yellow and the bill greyish with a black tip. During the breeding period, the base of bill and the facial skin will turn blue, and head and neck feathers become more violaceous. The plumage is characterized by lanceolate feathers on back, neck and nape.

Little blue herons live often in loose parties or associated with other herons of similar size, such as snowy egrets. They forage singly and congregate for roosting. They nest up on the top of mangroves. A clutch consists of 2-4 pale bluish-green eggs.

Did you know?
that immature little blue herons are not blue but white? During their first year, immatures are all white except for the tips of their outer primary wing feathers which are dusky.


Class AVES
Suborder ARDEAE
Name (Scientific) Egretta caerulea
Name (English) Little Blue heron
Name (French) Aigrette bleue
Name (German) Blaureiher
Name (Spanish) Garceta azul
Local names Portuguese: Garça-azul
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Wing-Chi Poon



Range North America, from Massachusetts to Florida; and through Central America into northern half of South America, extending south to Peru, Bolivia and southern Brazil.
Habitat Mainly inland, in freshwater pools, lakes, marshes, flooded grassland, paddyfields. Also in brackish waters and coastal habitats, e.g. mangroves. Up to 2500-3000 m in the Andes.
Wild population Common and not threatened (Red List IUCN 2011).
Zoo population None reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Little Blue heron


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Len Blumin

Why do zoos keep this animal

The little blue heron is not a threatened species, and zoos do not maintain coordinated breeding programmes. It may be kept for educational purposes and for promoting wetland conservation, ideally in mixed exhibits (walk-thru aviaries).