Egretta rufescens, Reddish Egret
I was back in the lagoon early this morning. Good birds today. I also saw three Black vultures and white Ibis.
The short protrusions coming from the water are air-breathing roots.To avoid suffocation in the oxygen poor mud, mangrove trees snorkel for air. They develop aerial or air-breathing roots.
The Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) is a small heron. It is a resident breeder in Central America, The Bahamas, the Caribbean, the Gulf Coast of the United States, and Mexico. There is post-breeding dispersal to well north of the nesting range. In the past, this bird was a victim of the plume trade.
This species reaches 68–82 cm (27–32 in) in length, with a 116–124 cm (46–49 in) wingspan. It is a medium-sized, long-legged, long-necked heron with a long pointed pinkish bill with a black tip. The legs and feet are bluish-black. The sexes are similar, but there are two colour morphs. The adult dark morph has a slate blue body and reddish head and neck with shaggy plumes. The adult white morph has completely white body plumage. Young birds have a brown body, head, and neck. During mating, the males plumage stands out in a ruff on its head, neck and back.
The Reddish Egret is considered one of the most active herons, and is often seen on the move. It stalks its prey visually in shallow water far more actively than other herons and egrets, frequently running energetically and using the shadow of its wings to reduce glare on the water once it is in position to spear a fish; the result is a fascinating, graceful dance. It eats fish, frogs, crustaceans, and insects. The bird's usual cry is a low, guttural croak.
Reddish Egrets' breeding habitat is tropical swamps. It nests in colonies, often with other herons, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. These colonies are usually located on coastal islands. These birds have raucous courtship displays. They general involve shaking of the head during the greeting ceremony, followed by chases and circle flights. They also involve raising of the neck, back and crest feathers, accompanied by bill clacking, similar to the Tricolored Heron.
Photograph by Elbert Greer
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