Egretta Rufescens – Reddish Egret

Egretta Rufescens - Reddish Egret. found in coastal part of Eastern US

The reddish egret, Egretta rufescens is a heron that is about the size of a heron. It is a resident breeder in Central America, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, the United States Gulf Coast, and Mexico. Post-breeding dispersion occurs to locations further north of the nesting zone. This bird was once a victim of the plume trade.

Quick Overview: Egretta Rufescens – Reddish Egret
Body size: Around 27-32 in (69-81 cm) and a weight of 451 g (15.9 oz)
Main colors: Blue-Gray, Pink, White, Black
Range: Coastal Eastern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: March, April, May, September, October, November
Conservation Status: Near Threatened

Reddish egret Description

Blue-gray body with hairy, pale rufous head and neck of a medium egret. Pink bill with a dark tip. Legs are blue-gray in color. The white variant features all-white plumage, a pink bill with a black tip, and black legs.

Egretta Rufescens - Reddish Egret. found in coastal part of Eastern US
Egretta Rufescens – Reddish Egret. Photo by: Mike’s Birds


These birds have a length of 27-32 in (69-81 cm) and a weight of 451 g (15.9 oz). Their wings could range from 46 in (117 cm).


The majority of their diet consists of small fish, frogs, tadpoles, and crabs. They also run in circles when pursuing fish. Reddish egrets stab their prey with their long, spear-like bills.


Reddish egrets are more frequently found in wetlands with salt and brackish water.


Its distinctive foraging habit involves running, hopping, soaring, foot-stirring, and wing-flicking. The Reddish Egret’s plumage is dimorphic, with the dark morph sporting a reddish head and neck and a slate-gray body, and the white form sporting all-white plumage.

Egretta Rufescens Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Pelecaniformes
  • Family: Ardeidae
  • Genus: Egretta
  • Species: Egretta rufescens

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds are during the Spring season (March-May) and during the Autumn season (September – November).

Distribution of the Reddish egret in the USA

Native to extreme southern Florida and the Gulf Coast to Texas; also found in coastal Mexico and the West Indies. Along the Pacific Coast, from extreme southern California to the Mexican border.

The Reddish egret can be found in the following states in the United States – Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Egretta Rufescens – Reddish Egret

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