Tricolored Heron

tricolored_heron_2

While flipping through the pages of Audubon’s Bird – The Definitive Visual Guide (First Edition), I came upon an eye-catching photo of a Tricolored Heron, in the introduction for the order Ciconiiformes. Herons, storks, egrets, bitterns, ibises and spoonbills were all in this order prior to 2008 (the book was published in 2007). This grouping was based on morphology but current phylogenetic trees are based on DNA sequence similarities. The 19 stork species are now the only members of Ciconiiformes and the other previous members have been placed in the Pelecaniformes order.

Herons, egrets and bitterns are all herons (family Ardeidae) and are grouped into various genera. Two major genera are Ardea and Egretta. The genus Ardea contains large herons, such as the Great Blue Heron and the Great Egret. The Great Egret, with its white plumage, resembles other egrets in colour and form, but otherwise, it has more in common with the various large heron species. The Tricolored Heron is in the genus Egretta, which contains medium sized herons. The Snowy Egret is also in the genus Egretta and also has a lovely photograph in Audubon’s book. I initially drew an ink outline of the Snowy Egret but couldn’t quite decide how to colour the shaded areas of white feathers with Crayola Markers. So I went looking for a more colourful bird.

I apologize to the heron for making his/her head and neck a little too big and a bit misshapen. I didn’t feel like spending too much time on the pencil outline so I jumped in with my black ink pen a bit early. The bold colours of the markers were fun to play with and I like the patterns they created. I used a black Superfine Pitt pen and a big box of 50 Crayola Markers.

Herons have long, flexible toes which allow them to spread their weight on soft mud and perch comfortably in high tree branches. I’ve never seen a Tricolored Heron in real life. They are usually found on the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts of the USA, the coasts of Mexico, Baja California, Central America, the Caribbean or the northwestern coasts of South America. Occasionally, they breed or overwinter in inland areas of the USA and there have been rare sightings in southeastern Canada.

Sources: Audubon’s Bird – The Definitive Visual Guide, Wikipedia, The Birds of North America Online (from Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology) and eBird

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43 Comments

  1. Love the colors!!! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks Jill πŸ™‚ ! I was inspired by your colourful artwork and your photos from your recent trip to Mexico.

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      1. That is so exciting Myriam! I’m happy I could inspire you, my friend! πŸ’™πŸŒŸπŸŽ¨

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  2. Yes, a beautiful bird. And thanks for the information! (K)

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    1. Thanks Kerfe πŸ™‚ ! Glad you enjoyed the information.

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  3. It looks great to me! The colors are wonderful. I’d love to see one in person one day. Thanks for the information about them too.

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    1. Thanks for the lovely compliments Deborah πŸ™‚ ! I’m glad you enjoyed the information and I’m very curious where you will see your first Tricolored Heron…

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      1. I’ve been to Mexico three times and have been on birding expeditions on two of those trips, but have only see the Great Blue Heron and Egrets I see here. Perhaps it’s been the wrong time of year or wrong place?

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        1. Hmm… I don’t know. The Tricolored Heron map says they are permanent and breeding residents on the coasts of Mexico. Non-breeding birds can be seen in Baja and in some parts of inland Mexico. I just saw a photograph of one in Florida posted on a WordPress blog a few days ago.

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          1. … 😦 not my time to see them I guess.

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            1. 😦 . Bet you saw lots of other amazing birds though!

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            2. I saw a few, but my favorite was the Frigate. Unfortunately I still haven’t got the image I want. They’ve been too high or far. 😦

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            3. Frigatebirds! Exciting πŸ™‚ ! Could you see them from land or did you have to take a boat out to see them? Bummer that you couldn’t get the shot you wanted. Closeness and great photos do add a whole lot of thrill.

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            4. I was in a boat when I saw them on two separate trips. I hope to get another opportunity to be where they are one day.

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            5. I hoping very hard for you πŸ™‚ ! Your photos are going to be sooooo awesome!!!!

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  4. Beautiful rendition! I know all too well the excitement of jumping in too soon with the black ink – kind of an adrenaline rush somehow. Your finished piece turned out great!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Carol and early-ink empathy πŸ™‚ .

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  5. This looks amazing!! The vivid colors and fabulous!! A beautiful rendering!! 😍

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    1. Thanks Charlie πŸ™‚ ! I appreciate your encouraging words.

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  6. I love your Heron Myriam. The colors are awesome. Your narrative is always appreciated.

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    1. Thanks for your lovely compliments Sharon πŸ™‚ ! And I’m glad you enjoyed the information. Your masterful use of brilliant colours, patterns and ink was a rich source of inspiration.

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      1. How nice of your to say Myriam! Thank you, it’s fun to inspire one another!

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        1. Well, it’s true and much appreciated πŸ™‚ . And it is wonderful to give and receive inspiration!

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  7. This looks like stain glass! It’s gorgeous! We’ve seen them in FL before but they’re not nearly as pretty as yours. 😘

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    1. Thanks for your delightfully sweet compliment Teresa πŸ™‚ ! It made me smile so big that I felt my cheek muscles flex. Cool that you’ve seen them in Florida. I’m sure they are perfectly beautiful in life! Florida looks like a really awesome place to see birds. Maybe some day…

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      1. FL is an awesome birding place! I hope you’ll get to go soon!

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  8. Lovely colours and I really like the sharp edges in the branch detail. Great stuff!

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    1. Thanks Jacob πŸ™‚ ! I’m glad you enjoyed the colours and thanks for noticing the branch!

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  9. Such an impressive looking specimen!! Beautifully rendered. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks for your enthusiastic compliment Susan πŸ™‚ !

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  10. Beautiful and stunning. Love your stylized approach while maintaining the elegance of your subject. The background information was fascinating and helpful. Wonderful post, thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you for your lovely compliments Haunani πŸ™‚ ! Your amazing ink drawings were a rich source of inspiration. And I’m glad you found the information interesting.

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      1. Awww, you make me blush, so glad we can inspire each other.

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        1. Awww, thanks :-). It is cool that I send some inspiration your way too.

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    1. Thanks Frank πŸ™‚ ! You’ve taken lots of beautiful photos of this heron.

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  11. Great sculptural use of colour. Nice work!

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    1. Thanks Andy πŸ™‚ ! I appreciate your encouraging words.

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  12. Wonderful drawing, Myriam, and I enjoyed the information too. When you see your first tricolored heron, you will be dazzled — they are a gorgeous bird.

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    1. Thanks for your lovely compliment Jet πŸ™‚ ! Oo, I like your use of ‘dazzled’. I do hope to be dazzled some day!

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