Bird’s ID – Reddish Egret
The Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) is a medium-sized heron. It is a resident breeder in Central America, The Bahamas, the Caribbean, the Gulf Coast of the United States, and Mexico. There is post-breeding dispersal to well north of the nesting range. In the past, this bird was a victim of the plume trade.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, there are only 1,500 to 2,000 nesting pairs of reddish egrets in the United States — and most of these are in Texas. They are classified as “threatened” in Texas and receive special protection.
This species reaches 68–82 cm (27–32 in) in length, with a 116–125 cm (46–49 in) wingspan. Body mass in this species can range from 364–870 g (0.802–1.918 lb). Among standard linear measurements, the wing chord is 29–34.3 cm (11.4–13.5 in), the tail is 8.8–13 cm (3.5–5.1 in), the bill is 7.3–9.2 cm (2.9–3.6 in) and the tarsus is 11.7–14.7 cm (4.6–5.8 in). It is a medium-sized, long-legged, long-necked heron with a long pointed pinkish bill with a black tip. It is distinctly larger than other co-existing members of the genus Egretta, but smaller than the great blue heron and great egret. The legs and feet are bluish-black. The sexes are similar, but there are two color morphs. The adult dark morph has a slate blue body and reddish head and neck with shaggy plumes. The adult white morph has completely white body plumage. Young birds have a brown body, head, and neck. During mating, the males plumage stands out in a ruff on its head, neck and back.
Reddish egrets’ breeding habitat is tropical swamps. It nests in colonies, often with other herons, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. These colonies are usually located on coastal islands. These birds have raucous courtship displays.
© HJ Ruiz – Avian101
I see these often, and had no idea they’re listed as threatened, or that their plumes once were part of the fashion trade. I’m glad to know it, and will pay more attention when I see them now.
They are not as common anymore, we have to take care of them. We are quite lucky to have seen them in person. Thanks, Linda. 🙂
This is a hard one, so many different morphs
That’s for sure confusing to anyone but one you see close, you’ll know right away! Thanks, Ted. 🙂
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there are amazing– the colours are gorgeous !
Thank you, Kathy. 🙂
Excellent gallery of this attractive bird, HJ!
Thanks so much, Clare. 🙂
Such a beautiful bird, and shame on us humans for bringing them to the edge of extinction because of that!
You are totally right, D.! Thank you! 🙂
Gorgeous shots, HJ! Such a pretty bird!
Thanks so much, Donna. 🙂