Harbor Herons Species

Get to Know the Harbor Herons!

Over the almost 40 years since wading birds were first discovered nesting on several islands west and north of Staten Island in the late 1970s, NYC Bird Alliance nesting surveyors have observed 10 species of egrets, herons, and night-herons nesting on 16 different islands around the New York/New Jersey harbor. Get to know the Harbor Herons below, from the most abundant species in the harbor to the least common, along with the cormorants and gulls that nest alongside them. 

Click on each species below to see more photos and learn more.

Learn More and Find Out Where to See the Harbor Herons and Other Island-Nesting Waterbirds

To learn more about when and where you can see waders and other waterbird species in the City, see eBird bar charts for New York City, for the years 2000-2020.
Read more about the conservation status of long-legged wading birds at www.heronconservation.org.

The Harbor Heron Islands are closed to the public in order to protect the nesting birds, which are easily disturbed. But fortunately, there are many places to see foraging wading birds and other island-nesting waterbirds in New York City. 
Excellent spots include:
·       Jamaica Bay and Alley Pond Park in Queens
·       Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx
·       Marine Park Preserve and Calvert Vaux Parks in Brooklyn
·       Randall’s Island in the borough of Manhattan
·       and many sites on Staten Island

Sources for “Get to Know the Birds”

All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Birds of the World (Various Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. 

New York Breeding Bird Atlas III eBird data courtesy of Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, D. J. Ziolkowski, Jr, K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon, and W. A. Link. 2017. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966 - 2015. Version 2.07.2017 USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD