Lousiana Heron – Egretta Tricolor – in leafy shadows


Audubon’s ‘Lady of the Waters’, Egretta tricolor also known as the Louisiana Heron never fails to appeal. The bird pictured here seems to me to be a young adult with its full slate coloring not yet established with a good deal of brownish coloring of the young fledgling remaining on its neck and head. I found the bird in the depths of its arborial abode, where the herons often nest, camouflaged well with coloring like the branches and hidden by shadows of leaves as light filters through. Slate and copper contrast nicely with the various greens of its background. The dainty heron has always been on of my favourites and watching the nestlings scamper about the colony like monkeys especially entertaining.  On at least two occasions this species was the culprit in going after white egret eggs and that of a green heron I was watching. Parent herons alternate guarding their nests quite diligently as they are not entirely safe even from their neighbors.

Louisiana Herons are constant residents of South Florida and I greatly look forward to the upcoming nesting season. When Fall arrives here in Florida with its drier, cooler air, the season of winter visitors and early nesting is in the offing. For birders, I’ve always thought it was most generous of nature to have cooler temps and bird nesting coincide on the calendar. The doldrums of summer are over and it is time to hike!!

If you click on this title “Louisiana Heron Chicks” it will take you to a previous post here on Janthina Images of Tricolor chicks scampering about the rookery. That was actually one of my favourite early shoots of them. Gotta love that spiky hairdo.

Click on ‘Baby Faces of Louisiana Heron Nestlings’ for very young nestlings with lots of pin feathers and not fully feathered. Who can resist those curious yellow eyes?

Click on ‘Louisiana Heron – Pond Apple Portrait’ for a view of an adult tri-color. Here you can see the ruby eye, white head plume, coppery aigrettes of the breeding season and the fully slate colors with tinges of burgundy and not that youthful coppery brown. This image I think was late season so the lore is back to yellow.

Click on ‘Tri-Color Heron-lores and textures’ to see what the bird colors look like in full adult breeding plumage…notably the intensely ruby eyes, florescent purplish blue of the lore and bill and white head plumes. When the adult is not in breeding season, the lore and eyes are yellow and the aigrettes and head plumes are gone. There are many in between stages as the colors change.

You an see by these links, among others, that I can’t stay away from this species for very long! And, I have just wetted my wanderlust for getting out to visit all my favourite species this season in a variety of favourite habitats.

I have been watching advertisements for an app called Calm which offers watching and listening to falling rain for relaxation. As for me, I’d rather visit the birds for serenity.




~ by Judy on October 27, 2019.

15 Responses to “Lousiana Heron – Egretta Tricolor – in leafy shadows”

  1. Wow. And wow! And wow! Fantastic.
    And BTW, that’s the colour of my hair. 🙂

    • Hmm, the coppery or the slate or both!! Everyone is creative these days with hair color. Oh on that score, I’m going gray ever since I fell off that dock and couldn’t dye while the wound healed! Just now getting to see the REAL me!!

      Glad you enjoyed these birds Tricolor’s are truly exquisite birds.

      • It was the combination of colours… although, my hair veers more to the red spectrum. Very much to the red spectrum.
        I keep saying I’m not going to colour it, but truth is, left gray it leaches all colour from my face so I look more like a ghost.

      • I understand that totally. Guess my challenge will be to see how to not get washed out in this process. So far not too bad though. Maybe? My mother in law and sister in law have hair color like yours and will dye to their last day!!

      • My middle daughter had dug in her heels and refused to colour her hair now it’s a goodly cover of grey (and she used to dye hers every punk colour). She says, quite rightly, if men can be silverbacks and no one notices, so too can women. So we go out with our cameras and anyone seeing us from behind thinks she’s the mother and I’m the daughter.

      • Either way , the choices can be fun!! Silver does look a lot different than dark brown for certain!! Birds aren’t the only creatures that change color with biology.

      • I guess I wouldn’t mind silver, it’s all those messy medleys inbetween. But no, I can’t even take blonde, it just leaves me looking ill.

      • I agree it is a tricky thing with ladies natural coloring if grey can work or not work. Wonderful we live in a time of convenient and safe choices for hair color…plus its fun!! And you look great with yours.

      • Hey, you haven’t seen how it is now! It really suits

  2. Wow! Gorgeous shot, Judy!

    • Thanks Jill!! It’s really fun when a great subject has a great natural background. It’s always worth fighting for when you see that in the field.

  3. You capture of the heron’s plumage beautifully!

    • Oh thank you!! I confess to being a bit of a nerd when it comes to loving feather details. It is fascinating to see how the bird colorations do change between juvenile stages then adult breeding and non breeding stages. That is what bird hormones do!!

  4. What a wonderful gift those links are! I still have a terrible, terrible time distinguishing this heron from the reddish egret and little blue heron. I finally found the side-by-side comparison photos on the Cornell site, and that was helpful. When I use their Merlin app in the field, it’s still not very useful, since when I enter location/size/color, it presents me with all three birds! More observation is needed.

    Is “Louisiana heron” a synonym for tri-colored heron? I couldn’t find any site that used both common names for the bird, so I’m not sure, but I think it must be, especially since the scientific name for this one includes tricolor as the specific epithet.

    I love feather details myself, and you do such a wonderful job of capturing them. Remember my photos of the bathing “great blue” heron that actually was one of these birds? After looking through your photos here, I can see the Louisiana heron details in that photo more easily.

    • https://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america/louisiana-heron

      Here is a link you might enjoy. I tend to call the tricolor by Lousiana He4on because that is how I first learned it. Audubon called it Lousiana Heron I think because he first saw it in Louisiana. I love his ornithological biographies and quote from them from time to time. The biographies accompanied his Birds Of North America. The Lousiana Heron is one of my favorite Plates. So when I got into taking pictures of them everyone around me just called them Tricolor Herons. I like Louisiana heron but have adjusted to use both references for the Egretta tricolor. I am slow to change when I am used to naming a certain way. Even with people who want to be called something different later on in life.

      I know you will enjoy the link above.

      The birds I used to confuse the most were the Reddish egret and the Little Blue heron as they are so similar in coloration. The Reddish being more shaggy in the neck feathers and with a pink and black bill while the Little Blue has a blue and black bill. It is always good to remember with the egret/heron names that all egrets are herons but all herons are not egrets. Its the ornamental back feathers or aigrettes during breeding that define.

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