A small, dark heron arrayed in moody blues and purples, the Little Blue Heron is a common but inconspicuous resident of marshes and estuaries in the Southeast. They stalk shallow waters for small fish and amphibians, adopting a quiet, methodical approach that can make these gorgeous herons surprisingly easy to overlook at first glance. Little Blue Herons build stick nests in trees alongside other colonial waterbirds. In the U.S., their populations have been in a gradual decline since the mid-twentieth century.
Despite its different last name, the Little Blue Heron is probably a close relative of the Snowy Egret. It looks much like a Snowy when it is young, but molts to a dark slate-blue plumage as an adult. Generally wary and hard to approach. Nests in colonies, sometimes of this species alone; in large mixed heronries, Little Blues tend to nest along the edges. Some of its largest colonies are in the lower Mississippi Valley, where it often nests in association with Cattle Egrets.
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