- ORDER: Pelecaniformes
- FAMILY: Ardeidae
In the stately and dignified world of herons, Reddish Egrets are the swashbuckling cousins. These big, cinnamon and steely gray birds put on a show as they forage in shallow saltwater. They race back and forth, open and shut their wings, stir up sediment with their feet, and even swoop low over the water in flight—all in pursuit of small fish. Reddish Egrets also have a rarer, all-white plumage or "morph." In any plumage, the two-toned bill and shaggy head and neck feathers give them a distinctive look.More ID Info
Find This Bird
In the U.S., look for Reddish Egrets on the Gulf Coast, particularly South Texas, or in the Florida Keys. Pull up to an inlet or salt flat at low tide and watch for an animated heron with a two-toned bill; or visit (at a respectful distance) colonies on mangrove islands, where the birds often nest with pelicans, other herons, and spoonbills. As they are often seen at a distance, a spotting scope is helpful for viewing these entertaining birds in detail.
- Garceta rojiza (Spanish)
- Aigrette roussâtre (French)
- Cool Facts
- Adult Reddish Egrets have two color morphs, a rare all-white morph and a darker bluish and reddish morph. When pairing up, males and females don't seem to pay attention to which morph their mate is. A single nest can have chicks of both color morphs in it.
- Dark-morph Reddish Egrets can sometimes have extensive white in feathers that would normally be gray. It's not known whether these are “intermediate” morphs (between light and dark), partially leucistic individuals, or perhaps even hybrids with other heron species in some cases.