New York Natural Heritage Program
Tricolored Heron
Egretta tricolor (Müller, 1776)
Birds

Habitat [-]
Tricolored herons inhabit a variety of aquatic habitats, including estuaries, salt marshes, lagoons, swamps, river deltas, mangrove swamps, and occasionally freshwater areas. They forage most often in wetlands (Fredrick 1997). In New York, tricolored herons utilize the coastal salt marsh scrub/shrub islands along the southern coast of Long Island; nesting in dense thickets or in trees and foraging in shallow estuaries and bays (New York Natural Heritage Program 2009).

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • High salt marsh
    A coastal marsh community that occurs in sheltered areas of the seacoast, in a zone extending from mean high tide up to the limit of spring tides. It is periodically flooded by spring tides and flood tides. High salt marshes typically consist of a mosaic of patches that are mostly dominated by a single graminoid species.
  • Low salt marsh
    A coastal marsh community that occurs in sheltered areas of the seacoast, in a zone extending from mean high tide down to mean sea level or to about 2 m (6 ft) below mean high tide. It is regularly flooded by semidiurnal tides. The mean tidal range of low salt marshes on Long Island is about 80 cm, and they often form in basins with a depth of 1.6 m or greater.
  • Salt panne
    A shallow depression in a salt marsh where the marsh is poorly drained. Pannes occur in both low and high salt marshes. Pannes in low salt marshes usually lack vegetation, and the substrate is a soft, silty mud. Pannes in a high salt marsh are irregularly flooded by spring tides or flood tides, but the water does not drain into tidal creeks. After a panne has been flooded the standing water evaporates and the salinity of the soil water is raised well above the salinity of sea-water.

Associated Species [-]
  • Great Egret (Ardea alba)
  • Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
  • Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
  • Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
  • Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)