The reddish egret, Egretta rufescens, can display either a light or a dark phase as an adult, the latter being the most common among populations in Florida (Farrand 1983). Both phases share similar skin coloration. However, individuals in the lighter phase have all-white plumage, while dark phase birds exhibit blue-gray plumage with a reddish-brown head and neck (Kale 1990). Some individuals are intermediate, displaying most of the dark-phase traits, but with scattered white feathers (Farrand 1983). Immature birds in the dark phase are grayish-brown with a single-colored bill. Breeding adults bear flowing back plumes that resemble a mane on the head and neck, a pink bill with a black tip, purple encircling the eyes and cobalt legs.
- Farrand Jr., J (Ed.). 1983. The Audubon Society Master Guide to Birding Volume 1: Loons to Sandpipers. Alfred A. Knopf. New York. USA. 447 pp.
- Kale II, HW & DS Maehr. 1990. Florida's Birds. Pineapple Press. Sarasota, FL. USA. 288 pp.
- Terres, JK. 1980. The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds. Alfred A. Knopf. New York. USA. 1109 pp.
- FNAI. 2001. Field Guide to the Rare Animals of Florida. Florida Natural Areas Inventory.
- FWCC. 2003. Florida's Breeding Bird Atlas: A Collaborative Study of Florida's Birdlife. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. http://www.myfwc.com/bba/ (Date accessed 07/01/2010).
- FWCC. 2009. Florida's endangered species, threatened species, and species of special concern. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Online at http://myfwc.com/WILDLIFEHABITATS/imperiledSpp_index.htm (Date accessed 08/07/2010).
- Powell, GVN, Bjork, RD, Ogden, JC, Paul, RT, Powell, AH & WB Robertson, Jr. 1989. Population trends in some Florida Bay wading birds. Wilson Bull. 101: 436-457.
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