|Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves (Birds) Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Ardeidae|
Identification: Size 58-65 cm. Wingspan: 44 inches. Sexes similar. Smallish, stocky, short-legged and short-necked heron. Bill medium-sized and pointed. Tucks neck in close to body in flight and at rest, rarely extending it. Adult birds have red eyes, legs yellow, black bill, crown and back and white face, throat, foreneck, chest and belly. Blue-gray wings. Two long, white, filamentous plumes extending from back of head in alternate plumage. Juvenile: Eyes yellowish to amber, legs dull greyish. Yellow base to bill. Brown head, neck, chest and belly streaked with buff and white. Wings and back darker brown with large white spots at the tips of the feathers; spots especially large on the greater secondary coverts. Immature: Acquires full adult plumage in its third year. First year birds are similar to juvenile, but have less extensive spotting on upperwings and a dark cap. Second year birds resemble the adult, but have a brown neck and wings contrasting with darker brown cap and back.