Galapagos Great Blue Heron

galapagos great blue heron

The Galapagos Great Blue Heron is the largest of the herons in these Islands.

This bird can be found nesting on most of the bigger islands like isabela, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal


Great blue herons, (Ardea herodias) have a wingspan of almost two meters.

It is a fierce and very efficient predator feeding mainly on marine iguanas, lava lizards and common fish.

Great blue herons are very common all over North and Central America as well as the West Indies and of course in the Galapagos, except in deserts and high mountains where there is no water.

Great Blue Heron Characteristics:

Great blue herons in Galapagos have blue-gray feathers on most of its body and a plume of feathers on its chest and back. It also has a long yellow beak and funny long legs.

Adult herons have blue-grey wings, they are white on the top of their heads and have long black plumes above their eyes.

The Great Blue Heron is 130 cm or 4 ft tall, it has approximately 210 cm or 7 ft wingspan and weighs around 2.5 kg. The great blue heron bird is tall and its wings, neck, beak, and legs are long too.

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When flying the blue heron holds its head against the shoulders, and the long neck is doubled back, its long legs follow behind in a straight position. This bird flies with slow but strong wing beats.

When on land, or in the water, its walking is erect with long paces. The Galapagos great blue Heron usually can live up to 17 years.

Great Blue Heron Feeding

The Galapagos great blue heron looks for food constantly during the day and night. It feeds mostly in calm freshwater and along seacoasts.

These birds feed on small fish or crabs, it also eats shellfish, insects, mice, frogs, reptiles, and occasionally small birds are also part of its diet.

In the Islands the Great blue heron also prey upon lizards, small land and Galapagos Marine Iguanas young birds, and young Galapagos Green Sea Turtles

Great Blue Heron Habitat:

The blue heron's habitat is always near the water. That's why it is commonly seen by lakes, in marine environments near the coast, rivers, lakes, road ditches, mangroves, swamps, streams and in general in freshwater habitats.

They usually nest in colonies consisting from a dozen to a couple of hundred pairs.

Galapagos Great Blue Heron Species:

In the Galapagos Islands we find five species of herons, several of these species are similar to the ones in North America.

These Species Are:

  • Yellow crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea)
    It can be seen on Santa Cruz Island in the town of Puerto Ayora. It can also be sighted on the volcanic hills of Isabela island, where it feeds on grasshoppers and other large insects.
  • Cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis)
    These birds can be observed in most of the highlands of Galapagos.
  • Lava Heron
    This is a dark gray looking bird. It can be found on the lava rocks near the seashore of some Islands in Galapagos. This is the only endemic heron in Galapagos.
  • Great Egret (Casmerodius alba)
    It is a migrant and not a nesting bird in Galapagos.
  • Striated heron (Ardeola striata)
    It is a bird with pale neck and breast with a black cap.

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Birdwatching in Galapagos is an incredible experience. Whether you are walking, sea kayaking or exploring the Galapagos Islands, take a moment to enjoy the graceful beauty of the Galapagos great blue heron.

Recommended Reading

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There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.


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Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!


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Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!


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