Rare bird: white Reddish egret

A Reddish Egret in white
F00Natuurdagboek 21 januari 6.350
White morph at RAMSAR area Sami Liber. Photos by Michelle Pors-da Costa Gomez

The Reddish Egret is one of the most colourful herons on our island, with a rusty red head and neck and dark gray body. The bill, pink at the base with a black point, is characteristic of the species. This heron loves shallow inland bays and former salt pans to hunt for fish, and the bird does this by dancing back and forth and creating shadow with its wings to lure small fish to hide underneath.

The birds are regularly seen during bird watching trips at the RAMSAR areas of Jan Kok, Sami Liber and also in the salt pans of Important Bird Area (IBA) Jan Thiel.
Few people know, however, that there is also a variety of the characteristic heron called the white morph. The name says it all, this variety is pure white but with the characteristic colors of both the bill and legs. These are not albino birds, but birds that have a genetic mutation that prevents them from producing the colours in their feathers. Both colour varieties can produce young with each other. The white morph is a fairly rare colour variety that is more often seen in Bonaire than here in Curaçao. However, last week for the first time in a very long time there was a very white Reddish Egret in the salt pans of Sami Liber showing the same hunting behaviour as the normally coloured bird.


Normal color variety of the Reddish Egret. Photographed on Bonaire. 

Reddish Egret – Roodhalsreiger 


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