Today we continue with our 2017 Birdorable Bonanza by adding a new wading bird: the Reddish Egret!
The Reddish Egret is a medium-sized species of heron found along coastal habitats in Central America and the southeast of the United States. They are also found on many islands of the Caribbean.
Reddish Egrets are known for their active hunting antics, often found running around, spinning, and jumping in shallow salt water as they hunt little fish to eat.
The Reddish Egret has two very different color morphs. Darker birds have grey bodies with a reddish head and neck. The light morph has a mostly white plumage.
Tomorrow we'll add a new species to our Birdorable rail family. Once thought to be extinct, this species has moved from living in wetlands to survive in alpine grasslands. Do you know this New Zealand endemic?
If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr Creative Commons) of the Great Egret. Great Egrets nest in a large colony group, which is known as a rookery or a heronry. In North America, the average clutch size (number of eggs laid) is about three. Incubation takes 23-27 days. Young chicks have a sort of prehistoric look to them, but they get progressively cuter as they age:
Great Egret (Ardea alba) nest with three chicks at the in the Morro Bay Heron Rookery 21 May 2009 by mikebaird
Great Egret Chick by Andrea Westmoreland
(4 of 9) Great Egret Chicks in Nest w/ Parent by mikebaird
great egret chick pair woody by JKD Atlanta
2 of 3 Great Egret Nest with Adult and Two Chicks, Heron Rookery, Morro Bay, CA 27 May 2010 by mikebaird
5 of 6 Great Egret (Ardea alba) nest with three chicks at the Morro Bay Heron Rookery by mikebaird
2 of 6 Great Egret (Ardea alba) nest with three chicks at the Morro Bay Heron Rookery by mikebaird
Little Egrets live across a wide area of distribution. They can be found throughout Europe, Africa, and much of Asia. They are also found in Australia and New Zealand. Little Egrets are very similar to a North American species, the Snowy Egret. Both species develop long fluffy plumes during breeding season. Like many species of heron, Little Egrets are colonial nesters. They will join other wading birds in a heronry, using platform-like nests made of sticks and twigs.
Tomorrow bird is a bird of prey that can be found across the northern hemisphere. It is the largest bird in the Accipiter family. Can you guess what it is?
If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr) of the Cattle Egret. Cattle Egrets nest colonially, usually in trees close to water. Sticks for the nest are gathered by the male and arranged by the female. Usually three or four eggs are laid; incubation takes about 23 days. The chicks fledge at about 30 days after hatching, though they remain with their parents for another two weeks for care.
The Cattle Egret has gone through one of the most rapid natural expansion of any bird. Originally native to Africa and Asia, it has expanded its range around the world. It reached the Americas in the late 19th century when it was first found in Guiana and Suriname in 1877, and Australia in the 1940s.
It arrived in the United States in 1941 and has since occurred all the way to Alaska and Newfoundland and has bred in nearly all fifty states. 
Cattle Egret are opportunistic feeders and follow large animals or farm machines around to catch insects. It is estimated that they gather 50% more food using only two-thirds as much energy when feeding with livestock. 
Cattle Egret are known to come in from far to catch insects fleeing from a fire. 
The Cattle Egret sometimes adds birds to its diet. At Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, just off the coast of Florida, Cattle Egrets have been observed catching warblers because of a lack of insects on the island! 
Cattle Egrets have been seen at airports waiting for airplanes to pass and blow insects out of the grass. 
Its Arabic name Abu Gerdan (Ø£Ø¨Ùˆ Ù‚Ø±Ø¯Ø§Ù†), means 'father of ticks', a name derived from the large number of parasites found in its breeding colonies. 
Cattle Egrets greatly reduce the number of flies that bothers cattle by pecking them off their skin, as found by a study in Australia. 
In 1959, the Hawaiian Board of Agriculture released 25 Cattle Egrets on Kaua'i to help control the flies and other insects plaguing cattle. 
Its range is estimated globally at 10 million square kilometers with a global population of up to 6.7 million individuals.