[order] Ciconiiformes | [family] Ardeidae | [latin] Egretta gularis | [UK] Western Reef Heron | [FR] Aigrette à gorge blanche | [DE] Küstenreiher | [ES] Garceta Dimorfa | [IT] Airone schistaceo | [NL] Westelijke Rifreiger

Westelijke Rifreiger determination

copyright: citybirder

This bird has two plumage colour forms. There is an all-white morph and a dark grey morph; intermediate morphs also occur. The white morph is similar in general appearance to the Little Egret, but has a thicker bill, duller legs, and a less elegant appearance. The grey morph is unlikely to be confused with any other species within the range of this egret.

Race golares coastal on rockyor sandy shores and reefs, less frequently occupies estuaries, mudflats, salt marshes mangroves andtidal creeks, occasionally inland.

The Western Reef Heron, Egretta gularis, also known as the Western Reef Egret, is a medium-sized heron. It occurs mainly on the coasts in tropical west Africa, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and east to India. It has been recorded as a vagrant in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, an Australian territory in the eastern Indian Ocean

These birds stalk their prey in shallow water, often running or shuffling their feet; they may also stand still and wait to ambush prey. They eat fish, crustaceans, and molluscs.

This species has a large global range; the total size has not yet been quantified, but the Extent of Occurrence in Africa alone is estimated to be 1,100,000 km2. The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population size criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. less than 10,000 mature individuals in conjunction with appropriate decline rates and subpopulation qualifiers). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Nests on ground or in reedbeds, bushes or trees up to 20 m also ledges or rocks or in mangroves. 2-6 eggs incubation 20-25 days, chicks have white down.

Extensive post-breeding dispersal. Palearctic breeders partially migratory: W populations winter around Mediterranean, Middle East and particularly tropical Africa; E populations migrate to S of China, SE Asia and Philippines, although large numbers remain in Japan. Populations of Africa, India and Australia sedentary, with some dispersal or nomadism; birds ringed in E Australia recovered in New Zealand and New Guinea. Races gularis/schistacea apparently resident and dispersive; accidental to Europe and USA. Race dimorpha strictly sedentary. Migratory populations prone to overshooting in spring