Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur

Sitio realizado por aficionados a la observación de aves desde 10 de enero 2006

Three white egrets

Tres garzas blancas
© Roberto Ares
How considerate of this Cattle Egret to stand near the other two white egrets.



At first sight the Cattle Egret (35cm) and the Snowy Egret (40cm) are almost the same size. The Great Egret (65 cm) is noticeably taller.

Since the Cattle Egret walks with the cattle and other animals catching insects stirred up by them, the reserve is not the place for it to stay. So records are scarce. Anyway, we must look attentively. Sometimes the position or the distance may lead to confusion and as a result an important register may be lost. In alternate plumage identification is easier, things get complicated in basic plumage. Let's compare it with the Snowy Egret first.

Cattle Egret and Snowy Egret

In breeding or alternate plumage
Cattle Egret
Bubulcus ibis
Garcita bueyera/Cattle Egret
Cinnmaon spots on bac, crown and breast
Bill yellow and shorter
Legs orange or reddish
© J. Simón Tagtachian
Snowy Egret
Egretta thula
Garcita blanca/Snowy EGret
With egrets
Bill black and longer
Legs black with yellow feet
© J. Simón Tagtachian
In non-breeding or basic plumage
This is the time when they are much alike. The bill is the element since yellow feet may be covered by vegetation or water
Cattle Egret
Bubulcus ibis
Garcita bueyera/Cattle Egret
Bill yellow and shorter
Legs blackish
© Claudia y Diego Bastías
Snowy Egret
Egretta thula
Garcita blanca/Snowy Egret
Bill black and longer
Legs black with yellow feet
© J. Simón Tagtachian
Garcitas/Egrets© J. Simón Tagtachian



Cattle Egret and Great Egret
Let's take now the Cattle Egret and the Great Egret. The Great Egret does not change the colour of its plumage either. So, Cattle Egret's cinnamon spots are diagnostic. Let's concentrate on confusiong times.
Here colour of the body (white), legs (black) and bill (yellow) coincide. Size is decisive. If we are not good at measures and they are alone, have in mind that the length of the Great Egret's neck is much longer in relation to its body. Another clue might be to compare the bird with another one near, if there is any.

Great Egret
Ardea alba
Garza blanca/Great Egret
© Elsa y Guillermo
Cattle Egret
Bubulcus ibis
Garcita bueyera/Cattle Egret
© Claudia y Diego Bastías



Great Egret and Snowy Egret

Garza y garcita blanca/Great and Snowy Egrets
© J. Simón Tagtachian
The Great Egret and the Snowy Egret share the same environment. So, it is common to see them together. They even nest together. The appearance of both egrets remain almost unaltered all year round. The colour of the bill is the characteristic to pinpoint.



Great Egret
Ardea alba
Garza blanca/Great Egret Bill yellos and big Black legs
© Elsa y Guillermo
Snowy Egret
Egretta thula
Garcita blanca/Snowy Egret
Bill black and smaller
Legs black with yellow feet
© J. Simón Tagtachian