Great White Heron

Ardea herodias occidentalis
great white heron

The majestic great white heron is unique to south Florida and the Florida Keys. Nesting occurs throughout the year, with a pronounced peak between November and February. Nesting habitat is primarily on mangrove islands within Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge and Key West National Wildlife Refuge. Birds forage on large, continuous turtle grass beds during a limited fraction of the tidal cycle. Destruction of seagrass beds by boating impacts can directly limit the availability and quality of forage habitat for these birds.


Is the great white heron a separate species?
Originally thought to be just a white color morph of the great blue heron, recent research about the great white suggests that it is at least a subspecies of it. Some preliminary unpublished data suggests that it may even be a completely separate species.

For more information on the movement patterns of the great white heron, visit ARCI's website on tracking studies of avian species.

Facts About Great White Heron

Largest heron species

Has yellow legs vs. black legs of great egret

Neck coiled in flight

Würdemann's Heron an intermediate color morph