Bibliography and photos of Ardea herodias, great blue heron, marshes near Monterrico, Guatemala

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Photograph by Dr Nicholas Hellmuth, with a Nikon D5 camera, 800mm Nikkor prime telephone Nikon lens.

Waterbirds of Guatemala: Ardea herodias, the great blue heron

Ardea herodias, the great blue heron, is one of the common waterbirds around Lake Yaxha (Parque Nacional Yaxha, Nakum and Naranjo, PNYNN). We (FLAAR, USA and FLAAR Mesoamerica, Guatemala) achieved great photography of this great blue heron during field trips in coordination and cooperation with the two co-administrators of the park during 2018-2019.

This wading bird, Ardea herodias, is also present, though not as common, around the lagoons east of Monterrico, inland from the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala.

Waterbirds in Classic Maya art; paintings and sculptures

I am interested in all waterbirds of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras because a chapter in my PhD dissertation (on water-associated flora and fauna pictured in Classic Maya art) was on waterbirds that are painted or incised on vases and bowls and occasionally in murals and carved on stone stelae. So year by year we undertake field trips to find and photograph as many waterbirds as possible.

January 15, 16, and 17 we were doing waterbird photography in the Costa Sur area of Guatemala (the coastal lagoons, swamps, and marshes inland from the Pacific Ocean). We have 400mm, 600mm, and 800mm prime Nikkor telephoto lenses for our Nikon D810 and Nikon D5 cameras. For our new Sony alpha mirrorless camera we have a zoom lens that reaches 600mm. So each of the three photographers who were on this field trip had a camera available to them.

As soon as funds come our way, we will be preparing a complete photo essay publication on this great blue heron around Lake Yaxha and an additional photo essay on our photos of this Ardea herodias herons in the Monterrico area.

My experience with the great blue heron

This bird is easy to spot in spring and summer in the Missouri Ozark Mountain areas, so as a child I saw this bird frequently. These Ardea herodias herons were fishing in shallow-water of swamps on our family farm (swamps parallel to Sinking Creek).


Bibliography will be added later this week

Below is just one suggested book and several helpful websites that I have added to the bibliography by Marcella Sarti (FLAAR Mesoamerica). More to come later this week from bibliography manager Vivian Hurtado (FLAAR Mesoamerica).








  • 1990
  • The Herons Handbook. London, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd., England.


  • JONES, I. M., BUTLER, R. W. and R. C. YDENBERG
  • 2014
  • Recent switch by Great Blue Heron Ardea Herodias fannini in the Pacific northwest to associative nesting with Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) to gain predator protection. Can. J. Zool. No. 91. Pages 489-495.

    Available Online:







Suggested webpages with photos and information on Ardea herodias
Helpful information; not many photos but worth reading for the information.
The award-winning photo here shows a pair in breeding plumage. Our photos
are not during breeding season; and one bird we estimate is immature. is a helpful website because they cover thousands of species of birds. And they provide audio of its songs. So this website is best known for its audio recordings.
Lots of photographs.


First posted January, 2021

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