The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is the largest heron found here in North America. These long-necked birds stand about 4 feet (1.2 m) tall with 5.5 to 6.6 foot (1.7 to 2 m) wingspan. Although a pure white form can be found in southern Florida and the Caribbean, most Great Blue Herons are bluish gray in color with a white head and a broad, black stripe over the eye.
This Great Blue Heron was sneaking about and hunting for fish and other aquatic creatures in the shallow pond waters in Agua Caliente Park here in Tucson late one afternoon this September. Since Great Blue Herons are mainly active around dawn and dusk, these are the best times to observe them actively hunting.
Great Blue Herons are fairly common at ponds and wetland areas here in Tucson during the winter, but although they do nest here, these large herons are uncommon in Tucson during the summer.