Green Heron

Green Heron

Green Herons are named such because of the glossy green-black coloring of their crowns, crests, backs, and wings, but you need to get a closer look to appreciate this as they look hunched and dark from a distance.

Their bills are two-toned, dark on top and yellow at the bottom, but these turn black in the breeding season. Their iris and legs also turn from yellow to orange.

Their heads, necks, and breasts are chestnut or maroon. They have a white central stripe running down the front length of the neck. Their bellies are gray.  

Juveniles are browner with dark caps and more of a crest.  

  • Butorides virescens
  • Length: 18 – 22 in (46 – 56 cm)
  • Weight: 9.17 oz (260 g)
  • Wingspan: 25 – 26 in (64 – 66 cm)


Green Herons breed mainly in eastern US states and the Pacific Coast before migrating south. However, those along the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, and Mexico remain all year.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Green Herons in swamps, marshes, lakes, ponds, and other wet habitats with dense vegetation. While they prefer coastal and inland wetlands, they may stay in dry woods or orchards if there are water sources nearby. 

The diet of Green Herons is small fish, insects, spiders, crustaceans, snails, amphibians, reptiles, and rodents. They usually hunt from shore by perching on sticks over the water rather than by wading.

Green Heron Call:


Nests of Green Herons are made of long, thin twigs high in the trees over water, but some may also leave them on the ground, hidden under bushes. 

Females lay up to six eggs which are laid in 2-day intervals. Incubation by both parents starts only when the last egg has been laid and takes about twenty days. They both feed their young when they hatch. 

Fun Facts:  

Green Herons are one of the few bird species to use tools for foraging using bait, like bread, feathers, twigs, and leaves to catch their prey. (Davis and Kushlan, 1994).