Little Blue Heron

Egretta caerulea

Until recently, we believed the Little Blue Heron only bred from the Gulf states of the USA through Central America and the Caribbean south to Peru and Uruguay. In the past few years, (since the 1980s) we’ve found them breeding year round and breeding in San Diego.

During their first year, the Little Blue Heron is white, which seems to help it blend in with groups of Snowy Egrets. As it begins its second year, it develops blue-gray blotches. We call this the calico phase. As an adult, its blue-gray and purple coloration gives it a striking appearance. During the early 20th century, when the millinery trade nearly exterminated many of the white herons and egrets so ladies could have pretty hats, the Little Blue Heron was spared because their feathers were not in demand.

Naturally, my first encounters with this species was in my hometown of San Diego, but Texas has provided me with some wonderful meetings as well.

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