What Do Blue Herons Eat?

Blue herons are carnivores that eat a variety of aquatic and land prey, including fish, frogs, turtles, young birds, bird eggs, snakes, insects, mice, moles, gophers and other small mammals. While they live in colonies, herons typically hunt alone and up to three miles from their pack. Pack only occurs when there is an abundance of food.

Herons are expert fishers, and they have perfected the concept of stalk and prey. To feed, the birds wade in six to 12 inches of water during the daylight in coastlines and marshes while searching for the perfect hunting spot. Herons then remain motionless for long periods of time, waiting for fish or other prey to come within their reach. Once prey is within reach, herons extend their long necks and blade-like bills to deliver a death blow. In most instances, they swallow their prey whole, which has been known to cause herons to choke to death by trying to swallow too much prey at once. If a heron fails to find food in a particular area, they fly to a new location.

Adult herons feed their young through the process of regurgitating previously digested food. The largest and oldest chicks typically receive the most food.