Closely related to E. thula. Often considered conspecific with E. garzetta#R#R, and known to interbreed at times#R#R, but differs in ecological niche in mangroves and on reefs (1); dark grey to blackish plumage morph (setting aside apparent very rare presence in E. garzetta) (4); larger bill and longer wings (effect size for bill 2.23, score 2). Moreover, there is evidence at least in gularis of sympatric or near-sympatric assortative breeding#R. Distinctions between taxa gularis, schistacea and dimorpha are not very strong or clear, and what unites them seems far greater than what may separate them; dimorpha sometimes considered a separate species#R#R but justification unpublished, and more recent trends favour lumping#R. Three subspecies recognized.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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