Little Egret with yellow legs and feet

To: Jeff Davies <>, Mike Carter <>, Birding Aus <>
Subject: Little Egret with yellow legs and feet
From: Mick Roderick <>
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 14:59:25 -0700 (PDT)
Jeff, Nikolas...

No, there wasn't any colouring on the upper mandible. Others have suggested to 
me that this, then, could be a sign of an "old juvenile". This is starting to 
get confusing...even without the mention of Stanpits and Chinese Egrets! (the 
latter which I did actually look up for the sake of completeness)

I couldn't see any remnants of plumes anywhere on the bird, but as I said, the 
thing was so active it was hard to get a decent look at fine details.

I'm looking forward to Nikolas' response to Jeff's question too.


----- Original Message ----
From: Jeff Davies <>
To: Mick Roderick <>; Mike Carter <>; 
Birding Aus <>
Cc: Allan Richardson <>; Andrew Silcocks 
Sent: Thursday, 20 March, 2008 4:16:16 AM
Subject: RE: [Birding-Aus] Little Egret with yellow legs and feet

G’day Mick, the bi-coloured lower mandible is probably more an indication of 
non-breeding status rather than age, the thing about the bill for juveniles is 
more to do with some juvs conveniently have bicoloured upper manbible to some 
degree. I cannot tell from your photos if this is the case with your bird, did 
your bird show colouring onto the upper mandible? If remnant plumes are 
indicative of adults then there are a number of images around with this feature 
combined with bicoloured lower mandible and yellow on inside legs.
Cheers Jeff.

From: Mick Roderick  
Sent: Wednesday, 19 March 2008 10:01 PM
To: Jeff Davies; Mike Carter; Birding Aus
Cc: Allan Richardson; Andrew Silcocks
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Little Egret with yellow legs and feet
Hi everyone,
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.

Cheers Jeff.


-----Original Message-----
 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.

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
Tel  (03) 9787 7136

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