Long-Legged WADERS

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



Egrets

Order Pelicaniformes    Family Ardeidae

Herons
(egrets), Pelicans, and Storks are related. Whether they should be grouped in one, two, or three orders is disputed. The grouping followed here is: Herons - Pelicaniformes; Pelicans - Pelicaniformes; and storks - Ciconiiformes

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 Blue Heron juvenile. White juvenile Little Blue Heron has bicolored bill; Cattle Egret has yellow bill.
Similar to: Little Egret. Cattle Egret has yellow bill; Little Egret has black bill.
Similar to: Snowy Egret. Cattle Egret has yellow bill; Snowy 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, Chinese  Egretta eulophotes  Found: Asia
The Chinese Egret has white plumage. Nonbreeding has dusky bill with flesh colored base; yellow-green lores, legs; yellow iris. Breeding  has long crest; bright orangish bill; blue lores; black legs; yellow feet.
Similar to: Little Egret.  LIttle Egret has darker legs and bill than Chinese Egret.
Image by: 1) Andres Siani - Bofrneo  2, 3) Jerry Oldenettel - Thailand


Egret, Dimorphic  Egretta dimorpha  Found: east Africa, Madagascar
The Dimorphic Egret is also consider to be a subspecies of the Little Egret: Egretta garzetta dimorpha.
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Dick Daniels - Antananarivo, Madagascar  4, 5, 6, 7) Dick - Morondava, Madagascar



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.


Egret,  Reddish Egretta rufescens   Found: south USA to northwest South America
Dark morph of Reddish Egret has slate-blue upperparts; reddish head, neck. White morph has all white plumage; black feet..
Similar to: Little Blue Heron juvenile. White morph Reddish Egret has black legs; juvenile Little Blue Heron has light legs.
Similar to: Snowy Egret. White morph Reddish Egret has black feet; Snowy Egret has yellow feet.
Image by:  1) Barloventomagico - Venezuela  2) Dan Irizarry - Florida  3) Ken Carregan   4) Teddy Llovet - California    5) Alan D. Wilson- Texas  6) Elaine R. Wilson - California  7) Googie Man  8, 9) Dick Daniels - Florida 
1) White morph - juvenile  2) White morph - nonbreeding  3) White morph breeding
4) Juvenile  5, 6) nonbreeding  7, 8, 9) breeding




Egret, Slaty  Egretta vinaceigula  Found: south-central Africa
The Slaty Egret has grayish-blue plumage; yellow legs.
Similar to: Black Heron. Slaty Egret has yellow legs; Black Egret has mostly black legs. Black Egret is more widespread.
Image by: 1, 2) Ian White - Botswana  3) Neil Gray


Egret, Snowy Egretta thula   Found: The Americas
The Snowy Egret has all white plumage; black bill, legs; yellow feet. Base of bill is yellow but turns red in breeding season.
Similar to: Cattle Egret. Cattle Egret has yellow bill; Snowy Egret has black bill.
Similar to: Great Egret. Great Egret is much larger than Snowy Egret. Great Egret can be distinguished by its yellow bill and black feet.
Similar to: Little Blue Heron juvenile. Juvenile Snowy Egret and juvenile Little Blue Heron are very similar. The upper part of  the bill of juvenile Snowy Egret is yellowish; juvenile Little Blue Heron upper part of bill is bluish.
Similar to: Little 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.
Similar to: Reddish Egret white morph. White morph Reddish Egret has black feet; Snowy Egret has yellow feet.
Image by: 1) Maggie Smith  2) Len Blumin - California  3) Dick Daniels - Half Moon Bay. California  4) Dick - California     5, 9) Dick - Jamaica  6) Dick - New Jersey 7) Alan D. Wilson - Fulton Harbour, Fulton, Texas  8) Dick - North Carolina  10) Terry Ross - Texas  11) Dick - South Carolina 
1) Juvenile  2, 3, 4) breeding plumage  6 - 11) nonbreeding


Heron, Black  also Black Egret  Egretta ardesiaca  Found: Africa
The Black Heron has bluish-black plumage; black legs; yellow feet. Uses wings like an umbrella to produce shade which attracts fish.
Similar to: Slaty Egret. Slaty Egret has yellow legs; Black Egret has mostly black legs. Black Egret is more widespread.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - San Diego Zoo  2) Dick- Parc Tsarasaotra (open bird sanctury in Antananrivo)    3) Steve Garvie - The Gambia  4) Ian White - Botswana


Heron, Little Blue Egretta caerulea   Found: The Americas
The Little Blue Heron has bluish-gray plumage; blue or grayish bill with black tip; blusish legs, feet. Juveniles have mainly white plumage; dark wing-tips;  dull greenish legs.
Similar to: Cattle Egret. White juvenile Little Blue Heron has bicolored bill; Cattle Egret has yellow bill.
Similar to: Reddish Egret white morph. White morph Reddish Egret has black legs; juvenile Little Blue Heron has light legs.
Similar to: Snowy Egret juvenile. Juvenile Snowy Egret and juvenile Little Blue Heron are very similar. The upper part of  the bill of juvenile Snowy Egret is yellowish; juvenile Little Blue Heron upper part of bill is bluish.
Similar to: Tricolored Heron.  Tricolored Heron has some white on its neck and also a white belly; Little Blue Heron does not.
Image by: 1,  2) Dick Daniels - Jamaica  3, 6) Dick - Puerto Rico    4) Dick - Brookfield Gardens, South Carolina   5) Dick - Southport, North Carolina 
1) Juvenile



Heron, Tricolored Egretta tricolor   Found: The Americas
The Tricolored Heron has blue-gray upperparts, head, neck; white line along neck; yellow or gray bill with black tip; white belly.
Similar to: Little Blue Heron.  Tricolored Heron has some white on its neck and also a white belly; Little Blue Heron does not.
Image by: 1) Nick Schooley - Florida  2, 3, 6, 10) Dick Daniels - Florida    5. 9) Dick - Lake Okeechobee, Florida  4, 7, 8) Dick  - the Carolinas 
1) Juvenile


Heron, Eastern Reef  also Pacific Reef Heron  Egretta sacra Found: Asia, Australasia
The Easterm Reef Heron has 2 morphs. Dark morph has charcoal gray plumage; white stripe on chin. The less common morph has white plumage. They have a brown bill; gold-yellow eyes; greenish lores.
Image by: 1) John Feather  2, 3) Glen Fergus - Ladt Elliot Island, Australia  4) Oystercatcher 
Most birds are dark, but there is also a white morph.


Heron, Western Reef  Egretta gularis   Found: Africa, Asia
The Western Reef Heron has 2 morphs. Dark morph has charcoal gray plumage; whitish throat. The less common morph has white plumage. They usually have a yellow bill; some have a black bill. They have thick yellow legs.
Image by: 1) Bhardwaj Shanthanu - Kachchh, Gujarat, India  2, 3) ChriKo near St. Louis, Senegal


Heron, White-faced   Egretta novaehollandiae   Found: Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand
The White-faced Heron has mainly blue-gray plumage; variable amount of white on face, throat.
Image by: 1, 3, 4, 5) Dick Daniels - Australia  2) David Cook - Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve, Canberra, ACT 






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