Mystery Bird

Despite watching this bird for about an hour last week, and taking many photos, it took me a really long time to decide what it was. I’m not going to name it because I’m still only 90% sure:

Mystery Bird

Hint #1: This was in southwestern Florida, at Little Estero Lagoon.

Hint #2: Before you make a decision, be sure to verify every field mark: bill color, bill shape, leg color, foot color, etc. There are at least four species that are tantalizingly close to matching this individual, except for a single field mark.

In the end, I’m pretty sure this is a bird I didn’t even know existed before this week.

6 Responses to “Mystery Bird”

  1. ChrisE Says:

    Isn’t that just a Great Blue Heron, or “Great White Heron”?

  2. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    Great White Heron is one of the morphs I considered. However, the bill doesn’t look big and heavy enough, in the field it didn’t seem nearly that large relative to other birds, the legs are darker than they should be, and most importantly the bill doesn’t show any hint of yellow. Especially given the bill color, I think we can rule out Great White Heron.

  3. Tommy Says:

    How about a White Morph Reddish Egret?

  4. Richard Says:

    Reddish Egret in white morph form.

  5. Ashwin Jayaprakash Says:

    Cattle Egret? Or maybe a sub-adult Heron?

  6. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    Tommy and Richard are correct. This is an immature, white morph, Reddish Egret. The bill rules out most other alternatives including Cattle Egret and the feet rule out Snowy Egret. Posture is also wrong for Great Blue Heron and Great Egret.

    I never saw a white “reddish” egret of these before last week, and didn’t know there was such a thing. In the future I’ll try to pay closer attention to these white birds.

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