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It is the largest North American heron and, among all extant herons, it is surpassed only by the goliath heron (Ardea goliath) and the white-bellied heron (Ardea insignis). It has head-to-tail length of 91–137 cm (36–54 in), a wingspan of 167–201 cm (66–79 in), a height of 115–138 cm (45–54 in), and a weight of 1.82–3.6 kg (4.0–7.9 lb). In British Columbia, adult males averaged 2.48 kg (5.5 lb) and adult females 2.11 kg (4.7 lb). In Nova Scotia and New England, adult herons of both sexes averaged 2.23 kg (4.9 lb), while in Oregon, both sexes averaged 2.09 kg (4.6 lb) Thus, great blue herons are roughly twice as heavy as great egrets (Ardea alba), although only slightly taller than them, but they can weigh about half as much as a large goliath heron. Notable features of great blue herons include slaty (gray with a slight azure blue) flight feathers, red-brown thighs, and a paired red-brown and black stripe up the flanks the neck is rusty-gray, with black and white streaking down the front the head is paler, with a nearly white face, and a pair of black or slate plumes runs from just above the eye to the back of the head. The feathers on the lower neck are long and plume-like it also has plumes on the lower back at the start of the breeding season. The bill is dull yellowish, becoming orange briefly at the start of the breeding season, and the lower legs are gray, also becoming orangey...
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