Tricolored Heron

Tri-colored Heron

You can quickly tell a Tricolored Herons apart from other herons with its white belly and neck stripe.

Non-breeding adults have a combination of blue-gray, purple, and white feathers. Their bills are yellowish or greyish with a black tip. Their legs and feet are yellow or olive green. 

Breeding adults also have thin, white feathers extending from the back of their heads, and the base of their bill becomes blue. They also have finer feathers on their necks and back. Their legs also become reddish in color. 

Juveniles are more reddish-brown, particularly in their neck, upper breasts, upper back, and wings.

  • Egretta tricolor
  • Length: 24 – 26 in (61 – 66 cm)
  • Weight: 14.6 oz (414 g)
  • Wingspan: 36 in (91 cm)


Tricolored Herons remain all year along the Gulf Coast, Mexico, and northern South America. Those that breed further north along the Atlantic Coast migrate south.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Tricolored Herons in freshwater and brackish marshes, estuaries, and coastal tidal pools or swamps.

Tricolored Herons are solitary feeders and are defensive of their feeding grounds. They will chase away other wading birds that attempt to feed on their territory and love to eat small fish, frogs, crustaceans, and insects. 

Expect to see them stalking, chasing, standing, and waiting to catch their prey. They crouch low on the water, with their bellies touching the surface and their necks drawn in, before striking. 

Tricolored Heron Call:


Nests of Tricolored Herons are made from sticks and made in colonies in trees and shrubs. The female then lays three to five eggs, and both parents share in the incubation, which takes them three weeks before the eggs hatch. They also both feed the young.

Fun Fact:

The Tricolored Heron used to be known as the Louisiana heron and is the only dark-colored heron with a white belly.