Wild Florida Photo - Ardea herodias - Great white heron

Ardea herodias var. occidentalis

Great white heron
Great blue heron white morph

Florida native

Monroe Co. FL 03/19/11
Monroe Co. FL 01/30/20
Monroe Co. FL 03/19/11
Monroe Co. FL 05/20/09

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Great white herons are found primarily in the Florida Keys, the Yucatan Peninsula and the Caribbean. They are also less frequently seen in the southern areas of the Florida peninsula.
Great white herons are typically about 10% larger than great blue herons and have an all white plumage. They can be differentiated from great egrets (Ardea alba) by their larger size and pale legs. (Great egrets have black legs and feet.) Where both great blue and great white herons are found, there is also often an intermediate morph, called Würdemann's heron, usually having the body color of a great blue, with a white head and neck.
The great white heron was first identified as a separate species called Ardea occidentalis, but is now generally accepted as a color morph of the great blue heron, Ardea herodias. Recent discussions have raised the question; are the two herons the same species, different subspecies, or completely different species. David Sibley in his original The Sibley Guide to Birds listed the great white heron is a color morph of the great blue. However he has recently stated that there appears to be a case for it being at least a subspecies (Ardea herodias occidentalis)


Ardea herodias is a member of the Ardeidae - Herons & Bitterns family.

Other species of the Ardea genus in the Wild Florida Photo database:
  Ardea alba - GREAT EGRET
  Ardea herodias - GREAT BLUE HERON

For more information on this species, visit the following link:
How to Identify White Herons at All About Birds

Date record last modified: Nov 11, 2018

Paul Rebmann Nature Photography at pixels.com