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The Tri-colored Heron or Egretta tricolor

Florida's Tri Colored Heron

A Beautiful Florida Native Heron Species

Friday July 20, 2018

At Kelly Park on the Banana River Lagoon, I have a friend in the form of a small egret or tri-colored heron that's always looking for fish scraps when I clean fish for customers at the boat ramp. The little guy is cute and small compared to the giant woodstorks, pelicans and great blue herons that intimidate him by gawking and snapping to keep him from my side and eating the small slivers of fish that I cut especially for him. The practice of feeding the birds at the docks is coming to an end as complaints and concerns from avid ecological enthusiast have convinced the Florida Wildlife Commission that feeding the birds disables them from foraging on their own. I'm not sure if there's truth to all this, but if so they might consider shutting down the Indian River Power plants because manatees for decades have learned to be dependant on the warm water outflows in the winter time.

Anyway's, I've been reading on the web about this beautiful addition to the heron family that I often see perched on a limb or wading in the intracoastal waterway. Unlike many other birds in Florida, the tri-colored heron is not in danger of extinction or threatened at all. There seems to be plenty of them around and they're a gorgeous part of the Florida Coastline and wetlands.

Tri-Colored Heron In Central Florida

"These heron are faster and more agile than many of the herons I've observed," explains Capt. Richard Bradley. "They're often running quickly across the shallow water in pursuit of prey and changing directions quickly while doing so. They also have a habit of raising their wings and remaining motionless to shade the water and make it easier to look into. From what I've observed they eat fish, crustaceans and insects."

Tricolored Heron

I've seen the heron's nest in cat tails in fresh water areas and have never really spied them in other areas nesting, but according to many online sources they nest in trees and bushes too.

Evidently the tri-colored heron used to be named the Louisiana heron and I suppose they quit calling them that after thinking about it, as they live in many warmer areas of the Americas.


Tri-Colored Herons often meet me at the boat launch in the afternoon to barter for my leftover bait. He offers to clean my baitwell in exchange for a short period of time by himself.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

Author Captain Richard Bradley

Captain Richard Bradley is the author and contributor for many of the articles written on the Lagooner website. Richard is a professional fishing guide, taking anglers in his native waters near the Banana and Mosquito Lagoons on Florida's central east coast almost three hundred trips seasonally. When not charter fishing, Captain Richard enjoys time with his family surfing, fishing, camping and various other outdoor activities.

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