I'm glad this has sparked some interest because myself and two other birdo's
ID'd this bird as a Little Egret right from the outset...and I am still sure
that is what the bird is. To those proposing Intermediate, yes I did consider
that, but only briefly and only in hindsight when looking at the fotos.
The reason we assumed Little Egret was a lot to do with the unmistakeable Jizz.
The bird was very slightly built and noticeably small (certainly smaller than a
White-faced Heron). Moreover, the bird was darting about like crazy, stabbing
at fish and jumping into the air and rarely stood in the one spot for any
length of time. This is characteristic of Little Egrets. Admittedly the size of
these species can just overlap but this bird was small and the behaviour was
The bird has a less-domed head than an Intermediate and as Jeff pointed out,
the bill is also quite long. I also agree with Jeff about the colour of the
upper feet and this is why I discounted the nominate race. I have seen the
nominate race in other parts of the world and, ironically enough, I even saw
that bird photographed by Mike at Leanyer Sewage Ponds in Jan 2005. I just
wasn't aware of the colouring that juvenile Little Egrets can obtain and having
done some research (as well as having it suggested to me), I think this is what
the bird is - a juvenile.
The bi-coloured bill is indicative of a juvenile Little Egret and it has been
implied to me that the colour of the legs may too (refer to HANZAB plate facing
p981 and look at the juvenile illustrated).
So who out there takes Egret ID for granted!?!?
----- Original Message ----
From: Jeff Davies <>
To: Mike Carter <>; Mick Roderick <>;
Birding Aus <>
Cc: Allan Richardson <>; Andrew Silcocks
Sent: Wednesday, 19 March, 2008 9:09:29 PM
Subject: RE: [Birding-Aus] Little Egret with yellow legs and feet
The bill looks too long to my eye for Intermediate Egret, and I don't have a
problem with the greenish areas on legs and feet. I would be happy to call
it an Australian Little Egret. I have seen a number of birds like this and
when you get a closer view they generally show a degree of dark marking to
the upper surfaces of the toes. The nominate ssp generally has entire foot
including upper surface bright yellow not greenish yellow. Also I am yet to
see a photo of a non-breeding nominate ssp showing greenish-yellow leg
markings like the Australian birds but this doesn't mean it can't happen,
but I have seen photos with greenish-yellow feet.
On Behalf Of Mike Carter
Sent: Wednesday, 19 March 2008 8:11 PM
To: Mick Roderick; Birding Aus
Cc: Allan Richardson; Andrew Silcocks
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Little Egret with yellow legs and feet
Like others, I too suggest its an Intermediate Egret. Partly yellow,
black-tipped bill may seem odd but we had an Intermediate just like that at
Edithvale in Victoria recently. I queried the ID when Andrew Silcocks
pointed it out to me but after study and discussion I agreed with his ID.
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