In Alabama during: Fall | Spring | Summer | Winter
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ardea herodias
OTHER NAMES. Crane, Blue Crane, Egret, White Heron, Long Tom.
STATUS: Breeder. Common throughout state in all seasons. Low Conservation Concern.
DESCRIPTION. A large (46 long with a 72 wingspan) lean, slate-gray colored heron with a white head and black stripe extending above the eye; a white foreneck streaked with black; a dagger-like bill and long legs. Breeding adults have a yellowish bill and ornate plumes on the head, neck and back. Nonbreeding adults lack plumes, and the bill is yellower. Juvenile birds have a black crown and no plumes. All herons fly with their neck folded. This distinguishes them from cranes, geese, ibises, storks and cormorants, all of which fly with the neck extended. There is an all white form of the Great Blue in Florida, the Great White Heron, that was once considered a separate species, but is now considered part of the species complex. They vocalize a hoarse guttural frack- frack- frack.