In the same photo, in identical hunting poses.
In yesterday’s post about a Cattle Egret I mentioned that the egret was in the same area as a Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret. Cheryl Anderson and Granny Pat asked if I had any photos that included all three birds, but I don’t because the Cattle Egret was too far away from the other two birds. However, I did get a few photos that included the Great Blue Heron and the Great Egret.
Two out of three isn’t too shabby.
1/5000, f/6.3, ISO 500, Canon R5, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM + 1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in
The egret isn’t quite as sharp as the heron (a depth of field issue) but I was happy to get both of them in the same photo and delighted that they’re in identical hunting poses, or very nearly so. The Cattle Egret was some distance out of frame to the right in a setting that looked much different than this. There were also several Black-crowned Night Herons nearby. The only species missing to fill out our local heron/egret quintet was a Snowy Egret.
Seeing them together I was struck by the similarity of these two birds in shape, form and size. They’re so similar they look like twins of different colors, which begs the question – Why is one an egret and the other a heron? Shouldn’t they both be in the same avian group?
Kenn Kaufman, Field Editor for Audubon Magazine, attempts to make sense out of the seemingly senseless situation.
“But when it comes to the difference between herons and egrets—well, those really are just different words for the same darned birds. There isn’t any taxonomic difference. We can see that by looking at some examples. The Great Egret is more closely related to the Great Blue Heron than it is to other birds with “egret” in their names. The Snowy Egret and Reddish Egret are in the same genus as the Little Blue Heron and Tricolored Heron, while the Cattle Egret is classified in a genus by itself. The Western Reef-Heron is a very close relative of the Little Egret. We tend to use “egret” for the white species and “heron” for those that are darker, but there are many exceptions to that rule—including the fact that the Great Blue Heron itself has a white subspecies, sometimes called “Great White Heron,” living mainly in Florida and the Caribbean.”
It isn’t logical or consistent but that’s the way it is.
Autor Ron Dudley