Green Heron

(Butorides virescens)

Conservation Status
Green Heron
Photo by Zac Davenport
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

 
  NatureServe

N5B, N5N - Secure Breeding and Nonbreeding

SNRB - Unranked Breeding

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

 

 
     
 

Size

 
 

15 to 22 in length

26 wingspan

 
     
 

Voice

 
   
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Marshes, lakes, and streams with dense shoreline vegetation

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Migration

 
 

April to September

 
     
 

Nesting

 
 

 

 
     
 

Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common migrant and breeder

 
         
 

Maps

 
 

The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Aves (birds)  
 

Order

Pelecaniformes (pelicans, herons, ibises, and allies)  
 

Family

Ardeidae (bitterns, egrets, herons)  
 

Subfamily

Ardeinae (typical herons and egrets)  
 

Genus

Butorides (green-backed herons)  
       
 

Bitterns, egrets, and herons (family Ardeidae) were formerly classified under the order Ciconiiformes. Based on a phylogenomic study published in 2008, the family was transferred to the order Pelecaniformes.

This bird was formerly considered a subspecies of Green-backed Heron, and was named Butorides striata virescens.

 
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

Bahamas Green Heron (Butorides virescens bahamensis)

Frazar's Green Heron (Butorides virescens frazari)

Green Heron (Butorides virescens maculata)

Green Heron (Butorides virescens virescens)

Western Green Heron (Butorides virescens anthonyi)

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

Share your photo of this bird.

 
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Margot Avey

 
    Green Heron   Green Heron  
           
    Green Heron   Green Heron  
 

Megan

 
    Green Heron      
 

Nancy Berg

 
    Green Heron   Green Heron  
           
    Green Heron      
 

Bird lover

 
  We have a small pond/lake behind our house. We saw it in the shallow part of the water pulling out minnows.   Green Heron  
 

Zac Davenport

 
    Green Heron      
 

Gerry Garcia

 
 

 

 
  When I tried to get just a step closer, it flew away.   Green Heron  
 

Norm & Peg Dibble

 
  Green Heron, just a funny photo sitting next to our metal art crazy bird. Just noticed—he appears to be banded on right leg.   Green Heron  
 

Lynn Rubey

 
  An Adult Green Heron with a tadpole in its mouth perched on a log in a pond in The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge.   Green Heron  
           
  An Adult Green Heron perched on a long in a pond in The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge. Here you can see the white markings on the chest and throat.   Green Heron  
           
  A green Heron walking along a branch along the Minnesota River in Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge.   Green Heron  
 

Kirk Nelson

 
  Juvenile green heron   Green Heron  
 

CJ

 
    Green Heron      
 

Wayne Rasmussen

 
    Green Heron   Green Heron  
           
    Green Heron   Green Heron  
           
  White Egrets are occasional visitors to Maplewood Hts Park even though the Blue Heron tries to protect his territory with ferocity.   Great Egret and Green Heron  
           
 

From a distance, the Green Heron is a dark, stocky bird hunched on slender yellow legs at the water’s edge, often hidden behind a tangle of leaves. Seen up close, it is a striking bird with a velvet-green back, rich chestnut body, and a dark cap often raised into a short crest. These small herons crouch patiently to surprise fish with a snatch of their daggerlike bill. They sometimes lure in fish using small items such as twigs or insects as bait.

— From Cornell Lab - All About Birds

  Green Heron  
 

Christa Rittberg

 
 

Observed in White Bear Lake.

 
    Green Heron      
 

Elizabeth Daughton

 
  An immature great blue heron searches for food.   Green Heron  
           
  A green heron sits quietly.   Green Heron  
           
  A green heron searches for fish and other food sources.   Green Heron  
 

Shelley Taylor

 
    Green Heron      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           

 

Camera

 

     
 
Slideshows
 
  Green Heron
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
 
  Green Heron  
  Green Heron
Ed McVicker
 
  Green Heron  
  Green Heron
JMC Nature Photos
 
  Green Heron  

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Holly Potter

 
  Green Heron 01
Published on Jun 24, 2018
 
   
 
About

I believe it has a nest in the Rees nearby. I see it a couple of times daily sneaking into what looks like a nest made of dried reeds. Saw him or her catching fish a few times.

   
       
  Green Heron 02
Published on Jun 24, 2018
 
   
 
About

I believe it has a nest in the Rees nearby. I see it a couple of times daily sneaking into what looks like a nest made of dried reeds. Saw him or her catching fish a few times.

   
       
  Green Heron 03
Published on Jun 24, 2018
 
   
 
About

I believe it has a nest in the Rees nearby. I see it a couple of times daily sneaking into what looks like a nest made of dried reeds. Saw him or her catching fish a few times.

   
       
 
Other Videos
 
  Green Heron - stealthy hunter - California
Clive Bramham
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Apr 3, 2011

Green Heron (Butorides virescens; Grønnrygghegre) adult foraging at Upper Newport Bay (Back Bay), Orange County, California. Bird hops from rock to muddy rock, crouching and flaring its crest. A model of patience and focus, the bird steps through shallow water without disturbing the sediment. Birds of California playlist. Birds of North America. Butorides viriscencs. MP4

 
  GREEN HERON CATCHING FISH_0001.wmv
TINKERPOPPYIMBA
 
   
 
About

Published on Apr 5, 2012

Intelligent Heron catching fish using bread as bait

 
  Green Heron Calling
orangescope
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 19, 2013

An adult Green Heron gives its signature call at the Venice Rookery.

 
  Green Heron at the Raritan River - Best Ever in HD
my35Xvision
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 13, 2012

Green Heron at the Raritan River - Best Ever http://www.youtube.com/user/my35Xvision -- back to my channel

Filmed by my35Xvision in Duke Island Park at the Raritan River on September 13, 2012

This was short and beautiful moment in nature...

Make sure you subscribe/like/comment/share!

Please visit my channel to view more exciting videos:
http://www.youtube.com/user/my35Xvision

 

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this bird.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Margot Avey
7/18/2022

Location: Westwood Nature Center, St Louis Park MN

Green Heron

 
  Megan
7/16/2022

Location: Chaska, Minnesota

Green Heron  
 

Nancy Berg
7/10/2021

Location: Woodbury, MN

Green Heron

 
 

Bird lover
5/3/2021

Location: Woodbury, MN

Green Heron

 
  Margot Avey
9/18/2020

Location: Westwood Nature Center

Green Heron

 
  Zac Davenport
6/4/2020

Location: Savage, MN

Green Heron

 
  Gerry Garcia
8/27/2019

Location: Hyland Lake Park Reserve

When I tried to get just a step closer, it flew away.

Green Heron

 
  Norm & Peg Dibble
7/5/2019

Location: Maple Grove, MN

Green Heron, just a funny photo sitting next to our metal art crazy bird. Just noticed—he appears to be banded on right leg.

Green Heron

 
  Lynn Rubey
6/19/2019

Location: Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

An Adult Green Heron with a tadpole in its mouth perched on a log in a pond in The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge.

Green Heron

 
  Lynn Rubey
9/8/2018

Location: Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

A green Heron walking along a branch along the Minnesota River

Green Heron

 
  Kirk Nelson
8/11/2018

Location: Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

Green Heron

 
  Holly Potter
6/21/2018

Location: Pine Mountain Lake, Backus, Minnesota

I believe it has a nest in the Rees nearby. I see it a couple of times daily sneaking into what looks like a nest made of dried reeds. Saw him or her catching fish a few times.

 
  CH
6/9/2018

Location: Lake Kohlmeier, Owatonna MN

Green Heron

 
  Jannine Mclaughlin
5/27/2018

Location: Cambridge, MN

It has a nest in my tree!

 

 
  Wayne Rasmussen
5/21/2018

Location: Joy Park

Green Heron

 
  Peter Nelson
5/10/2018

Location: Zumbro River, Pine Island, MN​

Bright red legs​

 

 
  Christa Rittberg
6/9/2017

Location: Ramsey County, MN

Observed in White Bear Lake.

Green Heron

 
  Elizabeth Daughton
9/14/2016

Location: pond at Colonial Church in Edina

An immature great blue heron searches for food.

Green Heron

 
  Elizabeth Daughton
8/8/2016

Location: Bredsesen Park, Edina

A green heron sits quietly.

Green Heron

 
  Wayne Rasmussen
6/27/2016

Location: Maplewood Hts

Green Heron

 
  Shelley Taylor
6/21/2016

Location: Balm Lake, Minnesota

Spotted on Balm Lake, northwest of Bemidji, MN.

Green Heron

 
  Wayne Rasmussen
6/8/2016

Location: Maplewood Hts Park

White Egrets are occasional visitors to Maplewood Hts Park even though the Blue Heron tries to protect his territory with ferocity.

Great Egret and Green Heron

 
  Wayne Rasmussen
5/31/2016

Location: Maplewood Hts Park - our backyard

100% crop from Tamron 70-300mm- our resident green heron family in 2011

Green Heron

 
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

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