Green Heron

photo by NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Butorides virescens
L 18″ (46 cm) W 26″ (66 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Flushing call is a startling “skeow!”

Description: Sexes similar. Adult with glossy dark green crown and upper wings; gray-green back; white chin; foreneck and breast streaked; smudgy gray belly; short yellow-green to orange legs; mostly blackish bill. Immature bronze-green above with buff and whitish feather edges; buff below, heavily streaked brown from cheeks to breast; yellowish bill and legs.

Behavior: When alarmed, stretches neck, raises crest, and flicks tail down.

green heron
Habitat: Found near wooded rivers, streams, and oxbows. Sometimes near marshes and lake edges.

Where in Nebraska: Common regular spring and fall migrant southeast, becoming rare casual northwest. Common breeder over most of Nebraska except the panhandle and western Sandhills.

Fun Facts: Known to use tools, Green herons “fish” for prey by dropping bait onto water’s surface.

Additional Information: Formerly known as Green-backed Heron.

Green Heron - NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
(click image for larger view)