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Types of Birds
Egrets (Egretta), arguably the genus that launched the modern bird movement, inhabit fresh and salt water environments world wide.
Still going strong after well over one hundred years later, the coalition of scientific and practical birding interests who opposed the wide spread use of egret feathers in the fashion industry in the late nineteenth century, continue advocating for bird interests today.
Eventually Egretta populations recovered. According to the American Birding Association, the North American population consists of four native species along with three occasional visitors.
Often associated with white feathers, the Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens), limits its United States presence to Gulf Coast and Florida coastal areas.
Southern California birders report occasional sightings when members of the Baja California population stray north.
The red or rufous head and breast feathers make it an easy Ardeidae species to identify.
Snowy egrets (Egretta thula). the smaller and typically warmer weather native egrets, fits the general white feather, egret image.
A large population lives year round from the equator up to Southern California. They are common summer residents on both coasts, found along both salt and fresh water bodies searching for fish.
At a distance, the black bill serves as a good field mark to differentiate snowy egrets from great egrets.
The Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea), a primarily southern species, can be easily identified by its black tipped bill.
Most of the United States' population lives along coastal Southeast locations. Occasional strays from a Baja California population make their way to Southern California.
Juveniles develop with white feathers, and after a year the feathers turn blue.
At first glance, the Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) might be mistaken for the Great Heron.
It's a bit smaller than the Great Heron and the white feathers on the belly along with the stripe along the neck serve as key identification clues.
Their range is primarily restricted to the Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastal areas.
© 2004-2011 Patricia A. Michaels