Spring is courtship time in the heron world and as with other species looks may not be everything, but they sure do help. Such an example from nature is the Tricolored Heron who goes through amazing changes to prepare for breeding. Pure white plumes sprout from its head while elegant purple plumes grace its lower throat. Wings and neck become adorned with rusty brown feathers while its beak and surrounding soft skin turns a deep turquoise. As if that isn’t enough, its eyes convert to a deep red. All of this beauty is supported by two pink legs. Estée Lauder move over!
This bird was photographed at Shark Valley in Florida’s Everglades National Park. It occupied itself with fishing in the canal that parallels the park’s walkway.
For the sake of comparison, look at a Tricolored Heron found in the same area that has not attained full breeding attire. Note the yellow legs, soft tissue area around the bill, and lack of magenta plumage. I posted photos of non-breeding Tricolored Herons in a previous blog, One Tricked Out Bird!.
Notice the large Red-bellied Turtle in the background of this image.
Monogamous birds, the male selects an appropriate nesting spot. I have yet to watch Tricolors’ courtship displays, but hope to one day capture the beauty of two birds showing off their vibrant feathers and beaks in full flourish to each other.
Here are some additional images of the Tricolor in breeding plumage.
Ladies and gentlemen take a look at God’s creation; appearances matter!