Bird of the Week, June 14, 2013,
Reddish Egret


 

Reddish Egret by Greg Lavaty

 

Reddish Egrets fish like no other birds. They dart here and there, twisting and turning from side to side, then spreading their wings in what appears to be a struggle for balance. But this seemingly strange behavior is actually a very effective hunting strategy: As the bird spreads its wings, it creates a canopy of shade, which attracts its fish prey.

 

The Reddish Egret occurs in two color phases — one with slate-blue body plumage and reddish head and neck decorated by shaggy plumes; the other completely white. This handsome egret was nearly extirpated by plume hunters in the early 20th century. Numbers have rebounded since this hunting ended, but it is still an uncommon bird. In the United States, there are roughly 2,000 pairs, with the largest colonies in Texas.

 

Coastal development and climate change pose the biggest threats to this bird’s wetland habitats.

 

You can help the Reddish Egret by joining our Spring 2013 Fundraising Challenge. We urgently need your support to conserve coastal marshes and other critical bird habitats!

 

 

BirdNote logo

Listen to a two-minute broadcast about this bird!

 

Photo: Greg Lavaty, texastargetbirds.com; Range Map, NatureServe