Long-Legged WADERS of Europe

The long-legged waders are comprised of the egrets, herons, ibises, spoonbills, storks, and flamingos. They are a diverse group, united by their long legs that enable them to wade for food. Their familes and orders are given below:
Egret, Herons: Order Pelecaniformes, Family Ardeidae
Ibis, Spoonbills: Order Pelecaniformes, Family Threskiornithidae
Pelecaniformes also includes Balaenicipitidae (Shoebill); Pelecanidae (Pelicans); Scopidae (Hamerkop)
Storks: Order Ciconiiformes, Family Ciconiidae
Flamingos: Order Phoenicopteriformes, Family Phoenicopteridae


Order Pelicaniformes    Family Ardeidae

The herons and egrets make up the Ardeidae family. Species belonging to genus Ardea are usually considered to be herons and those belonging to genus Egretta are called egrets. However, there is no clear distinction between herons and egrets. Those species that are white or have fancy plumage are usually called egrets. Bitterns also belong to the Ardeidae family.A common feature of the Ardeidae species is that they fly with their necks retracted, unlike the ibis that fly with their necks outstretched.

Genus Bubulcus - 1 species

Egret, Cattle Bubulcus ibis Found - The Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia.
The nonbreeding Cattle Egret has mainly white plumage; yellow bill;  grayish-yellow legs. Breeding may have orange-buff crown, back, breast; red bill, eyes, legs.
Similar to: Great Egret. Great Egret is much bigger and has a proportionally longer neck.
Similar to: Little Egret. Cattle Egret has yellow bill; Little Egret has black bill.
Image by Dick Daniels: 1, 2) Australia  3, 8) North Carolina  4) Puerto Rico    5, 6) Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island  7) Madagascar   10) Boquette, Panama  9) Cristiano Crolle - near Novara, Italy
1, 2, 3, 9) Breeding

Genus Egretta
These species are medium-sized herons, mostly breeding in warmer climates.

Egret, Little Egretta garzetta   Fourd: North America (uncommon), Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand
The Little Egret has white plumage; black legs. Bare skin between eyes and bill becomes blue or red in breeding season.
Similar to: Cattle Egret. Cattle Egret has yellow bill; Little Egret has black bill.
Similar to: Chinese Egret.  LIttle Egret has darker legs and bill than Chinese Egret.
Similar to: Dimorphic Egret. If found in Madagascar then Dimorphic Egret.
Similar to: Great Egret. Great Egret is much larger than Little Egret. Great Egret can be distinguished by its yellow bill and black feet.
Similar to: Snowy Egret. Range usually distinguishes between Little Egret and Snowy Egret. However, Little Egrets are sometimes found in the Americas. Adult Snowy Egrets have yellow lores, Little Egrets usually do not.
Image by: 1) Dick - Cairns, Australia   2) DIck Daniels - Plettenberg Bay, South Africa    3, 5) Sandy Cole - St. Lucia, South Africa  4) Cristiano Crolle - Racconigi, Italy   6) Dick - Sylvan Heights  7) Sandy - Sylvan Heights
5) The Little Egret, Egyption Geese, and Reed Cormorant kept the crocodile from coming ashore.

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