Reddish Egret

Listed status: Species of special concern.

Habitat destruction and degradation is the most common problem for the reddish egret.


A medium to large heron of shallow salt water, the Reddish Egret comes in a dark and a white form.  The dark form is the most common in Florida. 


The reddish egret is exclusively a coastal species. Reddish egrets prefer estuarine or marine waters for effective feeding and reproduction.  Birds rarely visit freshwater sites.


Reddish egrets are one of the most fascinating birds to watch when they are feeding!  They are very active feeders on a variety of small fishes, frogs, and  crustaceans and the only member of the heron family known to employ a foraging method termed 'canopy feeding'.  By spreading their wings, hunting birds cast glare-reducing shadows as they step rapidly through shallow waters to catch their prey.


Reddish egrets seem to prefer the red mangrove as a nesting site, laying 2-5 bluish-green eggs on a platform constructed of twigs.  Breeding begins in December and continues through June.  After eggs are laid, incubation is shared by both parents and lasts about 26 days.  Juveniles are able to fly at around 45 days old and typically leave the nest after about 9 weeks.


Interesting Facts:

A group of egrets has many collective nouns, including a "congregation", "heronry", "RSVP", "skewer", and "wedge" of egrets.


Reddish egret is the least common heron in Florida.



Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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