Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) – also commonly referred to as Dickey’s Egret or Reddish Heron – The Dancing Bird
Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens)
The reddish egret is a medium-sized 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.
The Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) – also commonly referred to as Dickey’s Egret or Reddish Heron – is a medium-to-large heron. It is mostly active at dawn and dusk.
Notwithstanding its name, Reddish Egrets occur in a white phase – with white plumage – and a dark phase – with a reddish or rusty colored head and neck. The white phase was formerly thought to be a completely different species.
The dark phase is far more common than the white phase – which makes up less than 20% of the total U.S. population.
This reddish egret might be dancing like nobody’s watching – but at this popular bird-watching site in Florida, USA, it’s likely to have a sizeable audience. The bird has a reputation for energetic feeding behaviour that resembles a frenetic dance. As it stalks its prey in shallow water, the reddish egret prances, staggers and leaps, while positioning its wings to block the glare of the sun as it boldly stabs at fish.
It’s one of many species that make Florida a year-round delight for bird-watching. This egret was photographed at Fort De Soto Park, a gateway site for the Great Florida Birding Trail, a collection of more than 500 sites where bird habitat is protected. During winter, many migratory bird species fly to Florida where they join year-round residents like the reddish egret, making winter a fruitful season here for bird-watchers.
According to a study conducted by the University of Montana “[the pigeon] is one of the smartest, most physically adept creatures in the animal kingdom.” These smart birds are able to learn relatively complex actions and have an excellent eyesight. These abilities together with their remarkable homing instinct made them invaluable assets during times of war.