SCIENTIFIC NAME: Butorides virescens
OTHER NAMES: Green-backed heron, little green heron, swamp squaggin, fly-up-the-creek and skeow.
STATUS: Breeder. Common in spring, summer, and fall in all regions. Rare in winter in Mountain, Inland Coastal Plain, and Gulf Coast regions. MODERATE CONSERVATION CONCERN.
DESCRIPTION: The green heron (Butorides virescens) is one of the smallest members of the heron family, standing 16-20 inches tall with a wing span of 25-27 inches and weighing an average of 8 ounces. Sexes are similar with the female being slightly smaller than the male. The green heron has a dark colored bill that is relatively long for its small stocky body, and when in flight appears crow like, at a distance.
Striking coloration features include: green/black head cap, bluish to greenish back, deep chestnut neck with grayish under parts. Wings are a dark glossy green with the wing feathers edged in buff. Eye color varies from orange to yellow and both sexes have yellow legs. However, during the breeding season, the male’s legs turn orange.