• Tricolored Heron

    Common NameTricolored Heron
    Scientific NameEgretta tricolor
    Type of ReportRare Species
    Date of Observation04/27/2017
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    Number Observed2
    Reporting Observer's NameC. J. Frankiewicz
    Mailing Address1173 E Clarendon Rd.
    N Clarendon, Vermont 05759-9659
    United States
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    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed04/28/2017
    Names & Emails of Other Contributing Observers

    Kathleen Pellegrino Guinness

    Latitude of Observation0
    Longitude of Observation0
    Place NameLake Bomoseen, Crystal Beach
    Vermont eBird Checklist URLebird.org
    Time of Day05:10 PM
    Length of Time Observed25 minutes
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)600
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)60
    Noteworthy Weather Conditions

    Late afternoon sun.

    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    Leupold Pinnacles 10x42 Binoculars (cjf); Eagle Optics Denali 8 x 32 Binoculars (KPG); Bausch & Lomb Discoverer 15-60x Scope (cjf)

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species

    First seen by cjf at Pea Island NWR in North Carolina on December 23, 1981 (when it was a Louisiana Heron).
    Seen in Florida Keys only a year ago by both of us. Likely other times in south.

    I certify that that attachments included with this report were captured during this observation event​​.
    Description of Habitat

    Mouth of brook with some cattails on both sides. Red-winged blackbirds, common grackles, rough-winged swallows, tree swallows, and yellow-rumped warblers.

    Behaviors Observed

    Ran after small fish; captured and swallowed quite a few. Walked and flew around mouth.

    Description of Vocalizations


    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    Noticed smallness of heron (compared to GBH) flying into a tree 200+ yards up the shore from Crystal Beach on Lake Bomoseen. Got heron in scope but leaves and branches obscured identification of bird. Heron flew to small long island at mouth of brook, much, much closer but back lit by late afternoon sun. Still got many field marks, especially white belly. Went back to car to consult bird book and to call Sue Elliott who suggested getting a photo. I reported a Louisiana Heron to her as my ancient Peterson's showed; she informed me of the new name. Upon my return, heron was walking on my side of brook but on my approach flew to water on other side. Light from late afternoon sun was much better at right angle or less. Second one flew in. Got both in one photo twice. Smallness compared to GBH evident: little more than half GBH's height. Breeding plumage: Blue-gray overall but belly to undertail coverts were white. First heron had a loose white flank feather sticking out at a jaunty angle, ready to fall. Whitish stripe on front of long neck. Reddish on sides of lower neck. White leading underwing; gray trailing underwing; both seen on multiple flaps and flights. Long bill. Whitish plume from nape. Tawny hairs on lower back. Red eye. Whitish lore. Small white spot or crescent from white flank showed just ahead of folded wing. Orangish legs. Exciting sighting!! And confirmed by Sue Elliott. cjf and KPG

    Relative Size & Shape

    Little more than half the height of Great Blue Heron. Long neck and legs. Heron shaped.


    Blue-gray head. Whitish lore. Whitish plume from nape. Red eye.

    Feet & Bill

    Long legs of a heron. Orangish legs. Bill long, perhaps longer than GBH bill, relatively speaking.

    Upper Back


    Lower Back & Rump

    Blue-gray with tawny long hairs.


    Blue-gray on top. White leading underwing; gray trailing underwing; both seen on multiple flaps and flights.

    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts

    All white except for blue-gray breast which also was slightly reddish on each side.


    Short and blue-gray.

    IMPORTANT: What similar species were eliminated when making the identification and how was this bird different?

    No other heron of this shape has white belly with rest of body colored. Black-crowned night heron stockier.

    Other Notes & Comments

    Breeding plumage. No age or sex determined.

    NOTE BY VBRC: Observer asked Kent McFarland to upload two images taken by Sue Elliott 45 min after he found the birds.

    This report was written from notes taken:Written from Memory

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