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Ace of Wands

what type of heron ?

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This is the Little Blue x Tricolored Heron hybrid that has been coming back to Hammo for at least 6-7 years.

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3 minutes ago, akiley said:

This is the Little Blue x Tricolored Heron hybrid that has been coming back to Hammo for at least 6-7 years.

Wow, good call. Nice looking bird!

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Posted (edited)

I posted to the CT birding email listserv a reminder about the ID, which caused problems because it's pretty similar to Little Blues. Will copy it here. I like in CT and have been familiar with this bird for years.

Edited by akiley

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48 minutes ago, akiley said:

This is the Little Blue x Tricolored Heron hybrid that has been coming back to Hammo for at least 6-7 years.

I knew something looked a little off, but couldn't peg what, and it looked ok for a Little Blue. 

What exactly points to the hybrid? 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, meghann said:

I knew something looked a little off, but couldn't peg what, and it looked ok for a Little Blue. 

What exactly points to the hybrid? 

Here's the email I sent out two days ago to the listserv explaining the difference. And in my post above that should say "live in CT". Can't edit it anymore.

 

Hi CT Birders,

 
Another spring has come around, thus the need for an important reminder. 
 
I'm sure most everyone is aware that there is a Little Blue x Tricolored hybrid heron at Hammo that has returned for a number of years, probably 6-7 by now if I remember correctly. This bird causes major identification issues for less experienced observers that need to be addressed as a reminder here.
 
First, it seems simple, but keep in mind that there is a hybrid that is seen daily at Hammonasset, at various locations within the park. DO NOT assume that a small dark heron is a Little Blue. I see countless, countless reports on eBird and elsewhere of "Little Blue Heron" that are clearly the hybrid. 
 
Here's an overview of the ID for those who are unfamiliar or simply as a reminder:
 
Color pattern is crucial. Adult Little Blue Herons show a distinct contrast between the blue body and purplish upper neck. The hybrid shows very little to no contrast. With a good look, you will see that the neck is all one color. 
 
A frequently noted field mark is white patches on the underparts of the hybrid. This is a clue but it is often misleading. In the spring months, the bird shows little to even no visible white below. So lack of white noted on a heron at Hammo this early in the season DOES NOT necessarily mean it's a Little Blue and not the hybrid. 
 
The bill is another important mark. The hybrid has a longer bill that is thinner and comes to a point at the tip. This can be hard to observe at times, but when visible is helpful in separating it from Little Blues, which typically have a somewhat thick and relatively short bill. 
 
The hybrid acquires yellowish lores around mid/late summer. This difference by point in the year is important. For the next couple of months the bird will not show that so it is not an accurate ID point. 
 
As an overview, plumage details, and the bill shape and color are the best ID characteristics for this bird. Please study the any heron carefully before entering it into eBird. I see so many ID mix-ups that warrant a post or two like this. ID mistakes are preventable by knowing the field marks going into a birding trip to Hammo and looking thoroughly at photos afterwards.
 
Carefully check your herons at Hammo!
 
Aidan Kiley

 

 

Edited by akiley
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