Long-legged Waders

Green Heron Green Heron
Butorides virescens


16-22" (41-56 cm). A dark, crow-sized heron. Crown black, back and wings dark gray-green or gray-blue (depending on lighting); neck chestnut colored. Bill dark; legs bright orange. Immatures have streaks on neck, breast, and sides.


Breeds mainly in freshwater or brackish marshes with clumps of trees. Feeds along margin of any body of water.


3-6 pale green or pale blue eggs in a loose nest of sticks built in a tree or dense thicket.

Green Heron
Green Heron


Breeds over a wide region from Canadian border to Gulf of Mexico, west to Great Plains, western Texas, and southwestern New Mexico; in West from Fraser River delta of British Columbia south to California and Arizona. Winters from coastal California south to southern Arizona and Texas, along Gulf Coast, and along Atlantic Coast north to South Carolina.


Call is a sharp kyowk! or skyow!


The Green Heron is rather solitary, feeding alone or in pairs. A wary bird, it erects its short crest, straightens its neck, and nervously flicks its short tail when alarmed. It is often first noticed when it flushes unexpectedly from the edge of the water and flies off uttering its sharp call. Our smallest heron except for the diminutive Least Bittern, the Green Heron preys on a wide variety of insects, frogs, and small fish; its broad diet enables it to breed on small inland ponds and marshes that won't support other herons. It stretches its neck and bill forward as if taking aim, and, after a few elaborately cautious steps, seizes the fish with a jab of its bill.

Green Heron