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15 Birds with Long Legs (with Pictures)

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black crowned night heron

If you’re a bird lover or even a birdwatcher, then you probably already know there are more than a few birds with long legs out there to gaze upon. However, if you’ve ever wanted to know more about those long-legged birds or even where the best place is to see them, we’ve got you covered.

In this list, we’ll give you 15 of the most common and sometimes the most unique birds with long legs.

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The 15 Birds with Long Legs

1. Black-Crowned Night Heron

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Image Credit: BarbeeAnne, Pixabay

Scientific name Nycticorax nycticorax
Wingspan 45–46 inches
Length 22–26 inches
Weight 25.6–35.8 ounces

The Black-Crowned Night Heron is found most often in North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Falkland Islands. The species is carnivorous and are considered to be nocturnal.

This species has a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years in the wild. You can spot them most often in reservoirs, lakes, marshes, and streams. You can identify them by their light-grey bodies and black hooded heads. The Black-Crowned Night Heron has shorter legs than other Herons but legs that are longer than other birds.


2. Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron

Image Credit: Pxhere

Scientific name Egretta Caerulea
Wingspan 39–41 inches
Length 20–32 inches
Weight 14 ounces

The Little Blue Heron is found in North, South, and Central America. This breed is carnivorous and has a life expectancy of around 14 years in the wild.

While these birds are technically called Herons, they more closely resemble Egrets. They have a slate-blue color that is very pretty and makes them pretty easy to identify for birdwatchers.

They like to catch their prey in grassy fields and shallow water. Their diet consists mainly of small fish, but they’ll dine on tadpoles, spiders, snakes, lizards, turtles, and various other small creatures as well.


3. Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Image Credit: Pxhere

Scientific name Egretta thula
Wingspan 40 inches
Length Around 2 feet
Weight 13.1 ounces

The Snowy Egret can be found in North, South, and Central America. This breed is carnivorous, and they have a life expectancy of between 18 and 22 years. They are small birds, but their snowy white appearance gives them just a touch of elegance.

While almost extinct at one time, a ban on hunting them has led to their numbers increasing. This breed likes to hunt in shallow waters, and they eat fish and insects.


4. White-Faced Ibis

White-Faced Ibis

Image Credit: Canadian-Nature-Visions, Pixabay

Scientific name Plegadis Chihi
Wingspan 35–36 inches
Length 18–22 inches
Weight 15.9–18.5 ounces

The White-Faced Ibis can be found in North, South, and Central America. It has a life expectancy of 14 years and has a carnivorous diet.

With an overall color of bronze, this breed of bird is easily distinguishable to birdwatchers everywhere. It also has a long pink bill that slopes downward, giving it an even easier appearance for bird lovers to recognize.

The breed forages in shallow waters, where they pull worms out of the mud. They eat fish and other invertebrates as well.


5. Wood Stork

Wood Stork

Image Credit: paulbr75, Pixabay

Scientific name Mycteria americana
Wingspan 5 feet
Length 3 feet
Weight 5.5–7.3 pounds

The Wood Stork can be found in North, South, and Central America. The breed is carnivorous and has a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years.

This breed can easily be identified by its featherless head. While they eat only the smallest of fish, one single Wood Stork can eat up to 400 pounds of fish during the breeding season. They do this in such a short amount of time that it’s an amazing thing to watch if you see it.


6. Sandhill Crane

sandhill crane on grass

Image Credit: Steppinstars, Pixabay

Scientific name Grus canadensis
Wingspan 5–7 feet
Length 3–3.5 feet
Weight 120–173 ounces

The Sandhill Crane is found most often in North America. It is an omnivore and has an average life expectancy of 20 years.

This bird is most often found in wetlands and is a very opportunistic eater. They eat insects, rodents, and other things but are content to eat any type of vegetation as well.

You can recognize one by its trumpeting call, which is often used to talk to its mate, even when it isn’t mating season.


7. Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Image Credit: Canadian-Nature-Visions, Pixabay

Scientific name Bubulcus Ibis
Wingspan 35–38 inches
Length 18–22 inches
Weight 9,5–18.1 ounces

The Cattle Egret can be found in North, South, and Central America like most of the long-legged birds on our list. They are carnivores and have an average life expectancy of 10 years. However, 70 years ago, you wouldn’t have been able to find this bird in America at all.

These birds exhibit behavior that mimics cow’s behavior, which is how they got their name. Their diet consists of whatever insects they can find in the grass.


8. Great Egret

great egret flying

Image Credit: sscheema, Pixabay

Scientific name Ardea alba
Wingspan 4.4–5.7 feet
Length 3.3 feet
Weight 35.3 ounces

The Great Egret is found in the “sunbelt” of the United States. They are carnivores and have a life expectancy of 15 years.

These are white, large birds that are found most often in freshwater. However, you can also find them in saltwater and wetlands, streams, and ponds. While they dine on fish the most, they’re not above eating other types of wildlife as well.

This breed is under government protection, so their numbers are steadily growing.


9. Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

Image Credit: Canadian-Nature-Visions, Pixabay

Scientific name Nyctanassa violacea
Wingspan 44 inches
Length 24 inches
Weight 25 ounces

The Yellow-Crowned Night Heron is found only in the Americas. The species is carnivorous and has a life expectancy of around 6 years in the wild. This bird doesn’t have the grace that other Herons do, but it makes up for it with its blue-grey body and the yellow plumes it sports, which gives it a certain elegance and unique appearance.

Since these birds are mostly crab eaters, they can be spotted along the coast most often. However, they are solitary creatures and quite secretive as well.


10. Great Blue Heron

great blue heron

Image Credit: 16081684, Pixabay

Scientific name Ardea herodias
Wingspan 5.5–6.6 feet
Length 3.5–4.5 feet
Weight 88 ounces

The Great Blue Heron is found in North, South, and Central America. The species is carnivorous and has a life expectancy of around 15 years in the wild.

This is the largest Heron in North America, coming in at between 3.5 to 4.5 feet. They have superior fishing skills, where they stand patiently waiting for the fish to come within striking distance, then they swallow the fish whole.

They will eat fish, mice, and insects, and though they hunt alone, they do live in large colonies any other time.


11. Green Heron

 

Scientific name Butorides virescens
Wingspan 25.2–26.8 inches
Length 16–18 inches
Weight 7 ounces

One of the smaller Heron breeds, the Green Heron, can be found in North, South, and Central America as well. They are carnivores and have a life expectancy of around 12 years in the wild.

They are solitary birds that you can spot in small bodies of water and dense foliage. They make a distinctive “kyow” sound when they take flight, which is how many bird watchers are alerted to their presence in time to see them before they fly away.


12. Striated Heron

Striated Heron

Image Credit: DenisDoukhan, Pixabay

Scientific name Butorides Striata
Wingspan 25 inches
Length 16–32 inches
Weight 4.4–9.2 ounces

The Striated Heron is found mostly in North, South, and Central America but they can be spotted in Japan, Australia, and Africa as well. They are carnivorous and have a life expectancy of about 7 years in the wild.

Though they belong to the Heron family, they have more traits in common with the Bittern family of birds instead. This breed is small, has drooping breasts, and all grey bodies. The best way to spot a Striated Heron is by its hunched posture, as this is how they hunt down their prey.


13. Reddish Egret

reddish egret standing on one leg at Sunset Lake

Image Credit: Joshua J. Cotten, Unsplash

Scientific name Egretta rufescens
Wingspan 46–49 inches
Length 27–32 inches
Weight 24.7–30 ounces

The Reddish Egret can be found in Texas in the United States. This breed is carnivorous and has a life expectancy of about 12 years in the wild.

This is one of the rarest species of Egret birds in America due to hunting and habitat concerns. While this breed is a highly social bird, it can be strict when it comes to its hunting grounds. You can tell when you’ve spotted a Reddish Egret by their hyperactive eating patterns, which easily distinguishes them from other birds in their species.


14. Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule

Image Credit: Abhardphoto, Pixabay

Scientific name Porphyrio martinicus
Wingspan 21 inches
Length 10–15 inches
Weight 7.6–9.1 ounces

The Purple Gallinule is a medium-sized bird with a life expectancy of 22 years. The bird’s low grating call has been likened to the sound a chicken makes. This breed of birds can be found in the Florida peninsula all year long.

This breed has also been known to forage while swimming and when walking along the riverbanks that it inhabits as well. The Purple Gallinule is most often found in swamps and wetlands.


15. Whooping Crane

 

Scientific name Grus americana
Wingspan 7.5 feet
Length 4.3–5.2 feet
Weight 9.9–19 pounds

The Whooping Crane can reach a whopping 19 pounds in weight and has really long legs too. The Whooping Crane could once be spotted all across Northern America. Now, however, there’s only one wild population that can be seen in northern Canada and on the Texas coast.

This long-legged bird has a lifespan of between 22 and 24 years in the wild. However, if it’s in captivity, it can live longer when taken care of properly. This bird is also the tallest in North America. It’ll also eat anything that gets close to it, such as frogs, fish, mollusks, and whatever they can find in marshes and ponds.hummingbird divider

Conclusion

This concludes our list of 15 birds with long legs. While there are many long birds in the world, to us, these are the most unique and certainly the most interesting to behold.

From the Snowy Egret to any of the Herons on our list, there’s sure to be a long-legged bird out there that you’d love to see, and we’ve shown you where to find them.


Featured Image Credit: Bishnu Sarangi, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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