The United States is home to several species of egrets, which are wading birds found in wetland habitats. In this writing, we will discover one of the most common egret species found in the United States:
All of these egret species are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and are important indicators of the health of wetland ecosystems in the US.
It this guide, we will show you Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Reddish Egret, and Snowy Egret.
Height 20 inches
Cattle Egrets are somewhat stocky and are often seen in fields as they search for insects. They do not have the same affinity for being near water as do other egrets.
Height 39 inches
Great Egrets are the second largest of our native egret and herons. It is a common species found in wetlands and coastal areas throughout much of the world, including North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
Infant aggression is common among Great Egrets and other egret species. To obtain the most food, older chicks will often peck and pester a younger, smaller chick to death. The third-born chick in a group of three Great Egret chicks is often killed by its siblings. The parents do not interfere.
The bill is usually yellow. During breeding season the area in front of the eye turns greenish and the bill can have a dark edge on the top.
Great Egret with the typical yellow bill and lack of plumes.
Egrets fly with the neck pulled in next to the body. Cranes fly with the neck extended.
Great Egret showing long black legs. Greenish color in front of the eye present duing breeding season.
Height 30 inches
Reddish Egrets have two color morphs, the dark morph from which its name is derived, and a white morph. Reddish Egrets are found along the Gulf coast and coast of Florida. Almost always seen in or near salt or brackish water. It prefers shallow waters with sandy or muddy bottoms, where it can forage for prey.
Their bill in bicolored.
Their populations declined in the 19th and early 20th centuries due to hunting and habitat loss, but have since rebounded.
This white morph Reddish Egret shows the typical two-tone bill, although the upper bill has not quite turned as pink on the lower 2/3rds of the bill. Perhaps indicating a young bird just before obtaining fill adult characteristics. The trailing bird with the yellow “slippers” is the smaller Snowy Egret.
Juvenile Reddish Egrets in light phase has a dark bill. Dark phase Reddish Egret is similar to adult but grayer overall. The Great Egret is similar is size but has a yellowish bill.
Height 24 inches
Snowy Egrets are small water birds with a delicate look. They are about 24 inches in length with a wingspan of about 36 inches and weigh around 10.5 ounces. They have striking white plumage with black legs, black bill, and distinctive bright yellow feet. During breeding season, they develop long, wispy feathers on their head and back, which give them an even more graceful appearance.
Snowy Egrets are commonly found in wetlands, marshes, and coastal areas throughout the Americas, where they forage for fish, crustaceans, and other small aquatic prey by stalking and darting their heads into the water.
Let’s look closer:
A typical Snowy Egret with thin, black bill, yellow in front of the eye and yellow feet. Plumes on the head may be reduced or not visible. © Sam Crowe
In high breeding plumage the base of the bill becomes red and the feet become orange.
A typical Snowy Egret with thin, black bill, yellow in front of the eye and yellow feet. Pllumes on the head may be reudced or not visible.
Snowy Egrets nest in trees, often in mixed colonies with other egret species.
The nest is a substantial collection of sticks that would seem to offer little comfort to babies.
The yellow feet are often very obvious when the bird is in flight. Notice the yellow lores, the yellow area in front of the eye.
I hope it helped you to identify some of the most popular Herons in United States.