Family Herons (Ardeidae)

Near Threatened

Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens)


French: Aigrette roussâtre German: Rötelreiher Spanish: Garceta rojiza

Ardea rufescens

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Louisiana, USA


Occasionally placed in monotypic genus Dichromanassa. White morph formerly considered a separate species, Peale’s Egret (A. pealii). Race dickeyi poorly differentiated, perhaps not tenable#R. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. r. rufescens (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – SE USA in Florida (occasionally South Carolina#R) and Gulf coast, and E Mexico through West Indies to N Colombia and N Venezuela.
  • E. r. dickeyi (van Rossem, 1926) – W Mexico along both coasts of Baja California and S to Sinaloa and (presumably this subspecies) to Oaxaca and Chiapas#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    66–81 cm; 376–850 g; wingspan c. 117 cm. Polymorphic, with dark and white morphs, both of which somewhat variable; dark morph highly distinctive in having red-... read more


    Considered to be generally quiet, but gives a soft “awh” while feeding and in greeting, “crog-crog... read more


    Typically in shallow coastal waters, saltpans, open marine flats and along shore. Rarely recorded... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly small marine and estuarine fish (e.g. minnows Cyprinodon, mullet Mugil, killifish Fundulus, ... read more


    Almost year-round in Florida, with peaks in Nov–Jan (in S) and Feb–May (Florida Bay); Mar–Jun in Texas and Dec–Jun... read more


    Pacific birds apparently sedentary, although records from California and Arizona. Population of... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently treated as Near Threatened, with an overall population variously estimated at c. 5000 pairs or 10,000–20,000 mature individuals... read more

    Recommended citation

    Martínez-Vilalta, A., Motis, A., Kirwan, G.M. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 February 2020).