Reddish Egret plumage

March 27, 2023

Reddish Egret, dark morph, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, FloridaReddish Egret, dark morph, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida In my last blog post I shared a little information about Reddish Egrets. You probably noticed that there was nothing reddish about the individual in the photo. There are two color morphs: a slate blue-gray with a reddish neck, often called the dark morph, and white plumage.  Some individuals have both dark and white plumage, often referred to as “pied.” It has been reported that the white morph was far more common in the United States prior to the millenary trade. Today, the dark morph is more common.

In my home state of North Carolina, Reddish Egrets were once a rare sight. They have been more common in recent years, often seen from mid summer to through fall. These individuals are likely post nesting juveniles from breeding areas further south or along the Gulf Coast. They are not known to breed in North Carolina. The closest breeding individuals are in South Carolina where breeding was confirmed in 2004.

 


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