Skip to main content
  1. Species/

Butorides virescens

Common Names: Green Heron, Green-backed Heron
Butorides virescens
Butorides virescens

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Ardeidae
Genus: Butorides
Species: Butorides virescens

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Green herons are 18" long with a 26" wingspan. They are much smaller than great blue herons, and have a dark gray-green back and brown neck.

Habitat & Range

They live in streams, ponds, and along other bodies of water. Their breeding range reaches across the eastern half of the United States. Their non-breeding range reaches across the center of Mexico, while they are found year-round along the coasts of Mexico, Florida, Central America, and northern parts of South America.


Green herons feed off of fish and occasionally invertebrates. They hunt by wadin and standing in the water, and grabbing or striking their prey with their beak.

Their call is a harsh “skyeew.”

Life Cycle

Green herons nest in trees and other vegitation near water. They lay between 1 and 2 broods each season with a handful of eggs.

Featured image by Manjith Kainickara.


Ardea herodias
Great Blue Heron
Accipiter striatus
Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Aix sponsa
Wood Duck