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EVERGLADES BIRDING: REDDISH EGRET

evergladesbirding.com reddish egretOf all the Egrets, the Reddish has the smallest population in South Florida. Populations were devastated in the 1800s and early 1900s because of harvesting of decorative egret plumes for use in women's hats and had become extinct in Florida but fortunately that tide turned with the Migratory Bird Act of 1918 and the Reddish Egret's population has been slowly increasing. See the narrative under Cattle Egret for more on this history. The Reddish Egret is still threatened by habitat loss and degradation.Human-caused disturbance at colony sites has also interrupted egret reproduction as has predation by fire ants, fish crows, and grackles.

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The Reddish Egret has a distinctive hunting style: When feeding it spreads its wings to create shade and reduce glare so it can more easily see its prey - most often small baitfish and shrimp - in the waters of Everglades National Park. When chasing fish, they also run in circles, then use their long, spear-like bills to stab their quarry.

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