Reddish egret

(Egretta rufescens)




Facts about this animal

The reddish egret is a medium-sized heron, with a body length of 76 cm and a body-weight of 500 g. cm. It is slender, and has a long bill and a long, slender neck. The plumage is characterized by lanceolate shaggy feathers on the neck. There are two colour phases: in the dark phase, the body is grey, head and neck are cinnamon to dull rufous. In the white phase, the plumage is entirely white. The iris is pale yellow, and the bill is flesh coloured with a blackish tip, and the legs are blackish.

Reddish egrets live in coastal areas, where are fairly solitary although they may form loose parties or associate with other herons, such as snowy egrets or little blue herons. They forage singly and congregate for roosting. They nest either on the ground, or in mangroves, 1-5 m above water level. A clutch consists of usually 3 rather pale sea-green coloured eggs.

Did you know?
that, during the late 1800s and early 1900s, this species was hunted extensively for its plumes, which were then used in women's hats? This persecution resulted in a severe population decline, and although the species it is now fully protected from hunting in most of its range, it is still recovering from the decimation of 100 years ago. The greatest threat to reddish egrets now is habitat degradation and destruction.


Class AVES
Suborder ARDEAE
Name (Scientific) Egretta rufescens
Name (English) Reddish egret
Name (French) Aigrette roussâtre
Name (German) Rötelreiher
Name (Spanish) Garceta rojiza
Local names Portuguese: Garça-de-garganta-vermelha
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Peter Wallack



Range From southern USA to northern Colombia and Venezuela.
Habitat Typically in shallow coastal water, salt-pans, open marine flats and along shores. Breeds on islands or in mangroves.
Wild population Approx.10,500-11,300 mature individuals with an unknown additional number in Cuba and the Dominican Republic (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population None reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Reddish egret


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Len Blumin

Why do zoos keep this animal

The reddish egret is not a threatened species, and zoos do not maintain coordinated breeding programmes. It may be kept for educational purposes and for promoting wetland conservation, ideally in mixed exhibits (walk-thru aviaries).