Weeks Bay Foundation Photo Album
Photos of Wading Birds

 

Cattle Egret
(Bubulcus ibis)

The Cattle Egret is common in spring, summer, and early fall in the Inland Coastal Plain and Gulf Coast regions, and rare in winter.

(photo by Marlene Cashen)

 

 

Cattle Egret 
(Bubulcus ibis)
 
Adult breeding  plumage
( March--July )

 

 

Cattle Egret
(Bubulcus ibis)

This is the only small white egret with the combination of a yellow bill and yellow legs and feet.  Breeding adults have patches of buff-orange on crown, nape, lower foreneck, and back

(Photo by Charles Lilly)

 

 

Cattle Egret
(Bubulcus ibis)

The Cattle Egret represents an amazing feat in avian natural history. Originally an Old World species, often associated with large ungulates on the East African planes, the Cattle Egret now is perhaps the most common heron in Alabama. Apparently reaching South America on its own in the 1930s, breeding individuals were found in Florida in 1953. It was first discovered in Alabama in 1957.

(Photo by Dave Cagnolatti)

 

 

Great Blue Heron
(Ardea herodias)

Nest building time

(Photo by Connie Hicks)

 

 

Great Egret
(Ardea alba)
 
Breeding birds have long lacy white plumes extending from their back, reaching further than the end of the tail.

(photo by Dave Cagnolatti)

 

 
Great Egret

 

Great Egret
(Ardea alba)

Adult Breeding Plumage (April 5)
Males generally select a territory that includes a nest site, then defend it against all others. As more birds arrive, each male's territory shrinks, until he is defending only his nest site and small perimeter. Breeding birds possess striking green (lores) flesh parts around the eyes.

 
Great Egret

 

Great Egret
(Ardea alba)

Adult Breeding Plumage (April 16)
In the breeding season (February - July), the Great Egret develops showy plumes.

 

Great Egret

(Ardea alba)

photo by John Borom

Great Egrets are strictly carnivorous and have adaptations for exploiting a wide variety of live prey.Their long legs and necks allow them to forage in shallow water, and their bills are adapted for spearing and grasping prey

 

Great Egret

(Ardea alba)

photo by John Borom

It feeds primarily on fish and aquatic invertebrates, and can strike with incredible speed.

 

Roseate Spoonbill
 
(Ajaia ajaja)
 
Roseate Spoonbill populations were seriously threatened by plume hunters as early as the 1830's. Though those populations have recovered, the species is still considered vulnerable in its limited U.S. range in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. 
(photo by Dave Cagnolatti)
 
Roseate Spoonbill

 

Roseate Spoonbill
(Ajaia ajaja)

Adult Breeding Plumage (April 16) Lake Martin, LA Their unfeathered greenish heads, distinctive bills, and striking plumage make them among the most remarkable birds in North America. They are occasional visitors to Alabama estuaries in summer and fall.

 
Roseate Spoonbill

 

Roseate Spoonbill
(Ajaia ajaja)

The male brings a stick to the female on the nest and presents it with various bowing and head-tossing displays and grunting calls.

 
Roseate Spoonbill

 

Roseate Spoonbill
(Ajaia ajaja)

Hunting for the plume trade reduced Roseate Spoonbill populations early in the 20th century, but they recovered after the introduction of legislation.

 

Roseate Spoonbill  

(Ajaia ajaja)

photos by Marlene Cashen

In flight the adult bird looks almost entirely pink and flies with the head and neck extended.

 

 

Wood Stork
(Mycteria americana)

Large, slow-moving, and heavy-billed, the Wood Stork is an occasional breeder on the Alabama coast spring and summer.

(Photo by Dave Cagnolatti)

 
Great Egret

 

Great Egret
(Ardea alba)

Adult Non-breeding Plumage
(August - January)
This bird stands about 39 inches high with a heavy yellow bill, blackish legs and feet.

 
Least Bittern

 

Least Bittern
(Lxobrychus exilis)

The smallest member of the heron family, the shy Least Bittern is similar to the Easter Meadowlark in size and shape. Sometimes mistaken for a rail, it is heronlike in shape and flight, rarely dangles its legs, and often perches high on reeds.

 

Little Blue Heron ( juvenile plumage )

(Egretta caerulea)

photo by Marlene Cashen

During first spring, immature's white plumage begins gradual molt to adult plumage.

 

Little Blue Heron (Above)
(Egretta caerulea

This is the only dark heron species in North America in which the juvenile is white. The juvenile begins molting into adult plumage in its first spring and gradually acquires more  blue-gray feathers, achieving a calico appearance in the transition from white to slate gray.

(Photos by Marlene Cashen)

 

 

Green Heron
(Butorides virescens)

This species favors wooded shorelines and backwaters of streams and rivers, undisturbed pond margins and protected estuarine shallows.

(Photo by Marlene Cashen)

 

 

Little Blue Heron
(Egretta caerulea)

This heron is unique in having all-white plumage through the first year and all-dark thereafter.

(Photo by Marlene Cashen)

 
Great Blue Heron

 

Great Blue Heron
(Ardea herodias)

This large heron is frequently found standing at the edge of a marsh, watching for fishes or frogs, which are its principal food. It also feeds on small mammals, reptiles, and occasionally birds.

 
Great Blue Heron

 

Great Blue Heron
(Ardea herodias)

This bird stands about four feet high when the head is raised, and it has the unchallenged distinction of being the largest member of the Heron family occurring in North America.

 

 

Yellow-Crowned
Night Heron

(Nyctanassa violacea)

This nocturnal bird roosts during the day in trees or marshes and forages at night.

(Photo by Marlene Cashen)

 

 

 

Yellow-Crowned
Night Heron

(Nyctanassa violacea)

Adult plumage. This species forages for crabs in estuarine shallows.

(Photo by Marlene Cashen)

 

 

Yellow-crowned Night Heron
(Nyctanassa violacea)
 
This is a downy chick

(photo by Marlene Cashen)

 

 

Black-Crowned
Night Heron

(Nycticorax nycticorax)

This nocturnal bird roosts during the day in trees or marshes and forages at night.

(Photo by Terry Hartley)

 

 

Black-crowned Night Heron
(Nycticorax nycticorax)

Night herons are distinguished from other herons by their much shorter legs and thick, heavy bills. They usually leave their daytime roost just at sunset and are often observed as silhouettes.

(Photo by Dave Cagnolatti)

 

 

Black-crowned Night Heron
(Nycticorax nycticorax
)

This species is uncommon throughout the year.

(Photo by Marlene Cashen)

 

 
 
Tri-colored Heron

 

Tricolored Heron
(Egretta Tricolor)

Adult Breeding Plumage (April 5)

A shallow platform nest is placed in a dense-growing shrub thicket. Blue eggs, usually 3 or 4, are laid between late February and July

 
Tricolored HeronTricolored Heron
(Egretta tricolor)

Adult non-breeding plumage (August-January)

This bird stands 26 inches high. It is extremely long-necked and long-billed, and is very active. Note the dark breast and contrasting light belly unique in all plumages.

 

 

Tricolored Heron
immature plumage
(Egretta tricolor)
 

(photo by Marlene Cashen)

 
Snowy EgretSnowy Egret
(Egretta thula)

Adult Breeding Plumage (April 5)
All-white plumage with slender black bill, yellow eyes, black legs, and bright golden-yellow feet are distinctive. Graceful plumes on head, neck and back are striking in breeding adult. Lores turn red and feet turn orange.

 
Snowy Egret and Tricolored Heron

 

Snowy Egret (Egreta thula) and Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)

foraging in the shallow estuary.

 

Snowy Egret
(Egretta thula)

Adult in high breeding condition.

photo by Terry Hartley
 

Snowy Egret
(Egretta thula)

Snowy Egrets were hunted for their wispy feathers that were used to adorn hats in the early 20th century.

Outcry against this practice launched modern bird conservation.

photo by Terry Hartley

 

 

Reddish Egret
(Egretta rufescens)
 
Breeder. Fairly common in spring, summer, and fall in Gulf Coast region. Feeds in shallow brackish and salt water, mostly on mudflats. High conservation concern.

(photo by Dave Cagnolatti)

 

 

Reddish Egret

(Egretta rufescens)

The Reddish Egret forages by running, flapping, stretching, crouching, spinning, and literally chasing small fishes through shallow water.

(photo by Terry Hartley)

 

Reddish Egret
(Egretta rufescens)

photo by Terry Hartley

 
Reddish Egret

 

Reddish Egret
(Egretta rufescens)

Adult Breeding Plumage (April 5)
Apparently still suffering the effects of century-past plume hunting, the Reddish Egret is Alabama's least common heron. Biologists estimate that only five pairs exist in the state.

photo by John Borom

 
Reddish Egret
 

Reddish Egret
(Egretta rufescens)

Adult Breeding Plumage (April 5)
The Reddish Egret is included on the Audubon/Partners in Flight Watchlist. The great sadness is that due to the press of growth, expansion and development, future generations of bird and nature lovers may never see this lovely creature dancing in the shallows.

photo by John Borom

 
Reddish Egret

 

Reddish Egret
(Egretta rufescens)

Adult Breeding Plumage (April 5)
Ready to defend its nest and territory, the Reddish Egret expands its shaggy, rufous plumes.

photo by John Borom

 

 

Glossy Ibis
(Plegadis falcinellus)

This species occurs on marshes, mudflats, and along shores of large bodies of water. It is uncommon in the spring, summer, and fall on the Gulf Coast.

(Photo by Marlene Cashen)

 

 

Glossy Ibis
(Plegadis falcinellus)

Glossy Ibis is an uncommon breeder on the Alabama coast.

(Photo by Dave Cagnolatti)

 

 

White Ibis
(Eudocimus albus)

Juvenile Plumage

(Photo by Marlene Cashen)

 

 

White Ibis
(Eudocimus albus)

Adult Plumage

(Photo by Marlene Cashen)

 
White Ibis

 

White Ibis
(Eudocimus albus)

Adult Breeding Plumage (April 5)
White Ibises forage in groups by walking slowly with heads down, probing mud with their long curved bills. They fly in lines with necks extended and rather weak, shallow and wingbeats.

 

White Ibis
(Eudocimus albus)

The breeding adult has a brilliant red face,bill and legs.

photo by Terry Hartley

 

White Ibis
(Eudocimus albus)

photo by Terry Hartley

 

Sandhill Crane

(Grus canadensis)

photo by Marlene Cashen

This large, long-legged bird has a bare red crown and long back feathers that curl down over the tail.About the size of the Great Blue Heron, it is heavier bodied, has a thinner bill about as long as its head, and flies with its neck extended. The species is rare in Baldwin County in the winter,spring and fall.

 
 
Copyright © 2000 Weeks Bay Foundation