The first time I took a picture of a Reddish Egret, I thought I had screwed up. What sort of bird is gray and brown with a black and pink bill? Surely, my camera’s color settings were way off.
But no, the camera was fine and so was the Reddish Egret, foraging in a pond at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Since learning about this bird, it’s become one I look for when I am out birding in its habitat.
They are so fun to watch as they dance around in the water to scare up fish. Or when the wind blows back their long brown feathers on their heads and necks.
They’re smart too, raising their long wings above their heads to block glare from the sun so they can see into the water better before snatching a little minnow or other treat.
Their long reddish feathers make it appear they’re sporting a mullet haircut. “In the stately and dignified world of herons, Reddish Egrets are the swashbuckling cousins,” AllAboutBirds.org says of the bird. “The two-toned bill and shaggy head and neck feathers give them a distinctive look.”
Here are some of my favorite pictures I have taken of Reddish Egrets since January 2023.