|Discoverer||Johann Friedrich Gmelin|
|Reproduction||Sexual; lays eggs|
|Average Weight||0.802–1.918 lb (364–870 g)|
|Average Length||27–32 in (68–82 cm)|
|Average Wingspan||46–49 in (116–125 cm)|
|Feeding Behavior||Carnivorous (Insectivorous, Piscivorous)|
|Prey||crustacean, fish, frogs, and insects|
|Distinctive Features||Use canopy fishing tactics|
|Eye Color||Pale yellow|
|Feather Color||Dark Morph: Bluish-black and reddish brown|
White Morph: White
|Related Species||Black Heron, Chinese Egret, Dimorphic Egret, Little Blue Heron, Little Egret, Pacific Reef Heron, Slaty Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Western Reef Heron, White-faced Heron|
|Superclass||Tetrapoda (Four-legged organisms)|
|Infraclass||Neognathae (Modern Birds)|
|Superorder||Aequornithes (Core Water Birds)|
|Genus||Egretta (Typical Egrets)|
The Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) are a species of heron indigenous to the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Central America, the Gulf Coast (primarily found in Texas), and Mexico. They can also be found significantly further north than their normal habitat post-breeding season.
Reddish Egrets are medium-sized herons, with long legs and neck. Their bill is long and pointed, being mostly pinkish in hue with the exception of a black tip. Their legs and feet are both bluish-black. Sexual dimorphism is minimal, though males can be distinguished during mating season as the plumage stands out in a ruff on its head, neck, and back. Two color morphs exist: While young birds always have a brown body, head, and neck, adults may appear with either completely white plumage (known as the white morph) or they can have a slate blue body with reddish head and neck in shaggy plumes (known as the dark morph).
While larger than most of their Egretta relatives, they are still smaller than either the Great Blue Heron and the Great Egret. They can reach a length of 27–32 inches (68–82 cm) complemented by a 46–49 inch (116–125 cm) wingspan. Specifically, their bill is 2.9–3.6 inches (7.3–9.2 cm), tail is 3½–5.1 inches (8.8–13 cm), tarsus is 4.6–5.8 in (11.7–14.7 cm), and the wing chord is 11.4–13½ inches (29–34.3 cm). They weight between 0.802–1.918 lb (364–870 g).
Considered to be one of the most active of the heron species, Reddish Egrets are often on the move, stalking their prey (which consists of crustacean, fish, frogs, and insects) in shallow water. They will frequently run, and instead of sitting and waiting they prefer to utilize a canopy fishing technique. This involves them fanning their wings out and using the shadow created by heir wings to reduce surface glare and allow them to peer into the water easier. This can also causes fish to gather under their wings for what they mistake as protection. Once they have locked onto their prey they spear it with their bill.
Their cry is a low, guttural croak.
During breeding season, males' plumage expands into a ruff along their head, neck, and back and they begin to perform raucous courtship displays. This involves shaking the head as a greeting, followed by chases and circle flights. They also involve raising of the neck, back, and crest feathers; this is accompanied by bill clacking that is similar to the Tricolored Heron.
Reddish Egrets breed in tropical swamps on coastal islands, nesting in colonies usually built on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. These colonies are not species-specific, but usually consist of other herons.