‘REMARKABLE FEET’: SNOWY EGRETS ON ABACO
SNOWY EGRETS (Egretta thula) are small white herons of the Americas, similar to the European Little Egret. The first thing you may notice about them is that they have remarkable bright yellow feet. This distinguishes these birds from all other egret and heron species.
Young Snowy Egrets often have yellow markings higher up on their legs.
The feet are so bright that they are often visible underwater.
Snowy Egrets eat fish, crustaceans, insects and small reptiles. They have 3 main foraging tactics: (1) Standing still in or on the edge of water to ambush prey (2) Stalking prey in shallow water, often running or shuffling their feet to flush out prey (3) “Dip-fishing” by flying low over water.
In breeding season, Snowy Egrets grow beautiful plumes – “bridal plumage”. At one time these were in great demand as adornments for women’s hats (as with flamingos, parrots and many other decorative species). This reduced the population of the birds to dangerously low levels, from which they have now recovered. Their IUCN rating is now ‘Least Concern’.
Contemplating the next meal… one of Sandy Walker’s excellent Abaco photos taken this winterPhoto Credits: Sandy Walker, Woody Bracey, Tony Hepburn, Wiki