Reddish Egrets

I love Reddish Egrets because they are easy to identify by their behavior — when I see them, they are either standing around trying to look like a stump, or dancing frantically as they chase a meal.

reddish egret

Reddish Egret, seen at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, March 2020.

reddish egret chasing fish

Reddish Egret, white morph, Port Aransas, Texas, October 2021.

Reddish Egrets are part of the family Ardididae, large wading birds.  The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior points out:

“Ardeids have a diverse repertoire of foraging behaviors; researchers have described more than 30… Typical herons often try to flush prey from hiding places by wing-flicking, foot-stirring, raking, and paddling. (p. 172)

The Reddish Egret has the most active foraging techniques of any ardied, literally chasing small fish through shallow water.  The abrupt, animated actions of a foraging bird — running, flapping, stretching, crouching, spinning — can be comical to watch.” (p. 173)

Unlike Little Blue Herons, who are light when young and blue when adult, Reddish Egrets keep their coloration their whole life.

Here where I live, about 100 miles from the Gulf Coast, common visitors are Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, and Little Blue Herons; occasionally we have visits from Green Herons and Tri-colored Herons.  But we have to drive all the way to the coast to be entertained by Reddish Egrets.  🙂