Herons (Ardeidae)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) - HBW 1, p. 405

French: Grand Héron German: Kanadareiher Spanish: Garza Azulada
Other common names: Great White Heron (white morph); Würdemann's Heron

Taxonomy: Ardea herodias Linnaeus, 1758, America = Hudson Bay.
Sometimes considered conspecific with A. cinerea; forms superspecies with A. cinerea and A. cocoi. Race occidentalis, mostly white morph birds, previously considered distinct species. Possible hybrid occidentalis x wardi with white head, described as different species, Würdemann's Heron (A. wurdemanni); recent opinion suggests it is merely colour morph of wardi or occidentalis. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • fannini Chapman, 1901 - SE Alaska to coastal Washington.
  • herodias Linnaeus, 1758 - most of N & C America.
  • wardi Ridgway, 1882 - Kansas and Oklahoma to Florida.

     See all 5 subspecies
  • fannini Chapman, 1901 - SE Alaska to coastal Washington.
  • herodias Linnaeus, 1758 - most of N & C America.
  • wardi Ridgway, 1882 - Kansas and Oklahoma to Florida.
  • occidentalis Audubon, 1835 - S Florida through W Indies to islands off Venezuela.
  • cognata Bangs, 1903 - Galapagos.