Heron flight calls

Late summer is a beautiful time of year to enjoy herons. Sometimes, herons are seen flying over, at dusk, belting out their unique, throaty call as they pass overhead. Below I share sound clips of the flight calls of eastern NA herons. All audio clips are available via xenocanto. A written description, taken from those described in the Sibley Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America, of the call has been included.

Great Blue Heron: http://www.xeno-canto.org/210126 and http://www.xeno-canto.org/210126. Very deep, hoarse, trumpeting fraaahnk frequently given in flight and often heard at night.

Great Egret: http://www.xeno-canto.org/17012 and http://www.xeno-canto.org/131650. Very deep, low, gravelly kroow and grating, unmusical karrr. Other low croaks as well, all fading at end. Lower and coarser than Great Blue Heron, and without the trumpeting quality.

Black-crowned Night-Heron: http://www.xeno-canto.org/51861 and http://www.xeno-canto.org/152401. Flight call a flat, barking quok or quark.

Green Heron: http://www.xeno-canto.org/326526 and http://www.xeno-canto.org/149433. An explosive, sharp, swallowed skeow.

American Bittern: http://www.xeno-canto.org/338164. Loud, hoarse, nasal squark intermediate between night-herons and Mallard.

Least Bittern: http://www.xeno-canto.org/326521. Loud, harsh, nasally, quacking rick.

Little Blue Heron: http://www.xeno-canto.org/173674 and http://www.xeno-canto.org/278937. Various, indistinct, hoarse squawks.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron: http://www.xeno-canto.org/257334 and http://www.xeno-canto.org/331264. High, squawking bark, similar to Black-crowned but higher-pitched and more crow-like.


Sibley, D.A. 2014. The Sibley Guide to Birds. 2nd ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.