11. Wading Birds

Some of the top predators in the salt marsh are also the most beautiful. Herons, such as the great blue heron and tricolored heron, and egrets, such as the great egret and snowy egret, are wading birds.  They have long legs that enable them to wade through the shallows without getting their bodies wet, and their feet have long toes to support them as they stand in mud or sand. They have long necks to reach down to the water for their food. Their long, sharp, spear-like beaks are used to strike quickly at their prey. Even their narrow bodies and heads present a minimum of visibility to the fish as they look up from the water. Herons and egrets are not really different from each other, but the wading herons with white feathers are called egrets. Egrets grow fancy feathers during their breeding season.

Great Egret | The Salt Marsh


The great egret is a large white wading bird. Unlike the snowy egret, the great egret has a yellow bill and black legs and feet. This bird is the symbol of the National Audubon Society. Their long...
Tricolored Heron | The Salt Marsh
Tricolored Heron | The Salt Marsh


The tricolored heron is bluish on the back and wing, white on its belly and throat, and reddish-brown on the back of its neck and head. This medium-sized heron is the most common heron of the salt...