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Egret ID help please, Hainan, China (1 Viewer)

Hainan on the fly

Well-known member
The second picture was taken in late October. The others last week.
The last three pictures are of the same individual.

I'm thinking the second picture is Cattle Egret. The short and stocky bill along with a round head seem to point there.
The first must be Little Egret, I think. The picture isn't great and had me wondering what could have black feet and such a slender black bill. Upon looking closer, I'm thinking the yellow feet are covered in mud with a small portion of the lower leg showing the yellow color. The last pictures (all of the same individual) I'm having a difficult time choosing between Intermediate or Great. With a large bill and an angled kink in the neck, I guess I'm leaning towards Great but I'm just not sure.

This is my first time attempting to ID these birds and I'm just kind of thinking aloud with what I'm noticing. Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks,

Brian little.jpg
 

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MJB

Well-known member
The second picture was taken in late October. The others last week.
The last three pictures are of the same individual.

I'm thinking the second picture is Cattle Egret. The short and stocky bill along with a round head seem to point there.
The first must be Little Egret, I think. The picture isn't great and had me wondering what could have black feet and such a slender black bill. Upon looking closer, I'm thinking the yellow feet are covered in mud with a small portion of the lower leg showing the yellow color. The last pictures (all of the same individual) I'm having a difficult time choosing between Intermediate or Great. With a large bill and an angled kink in the neck, I guess I'm leaning towards Great but I'm just not sure.

This is my first time attempting to ID these birds and I'm just kind of thinking aloud with what I'm noticing. Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks,

Brian
Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus.
MJB
 

Dawsy

Well-known member
I agree on all too. Great vs intermediate is the only tricky one there and, as you correctly state, the kink is too great for intermediate; they do have one just not as pronounced. You would also be able to see the dark tip to the bill in most of those pictures (possibly not the first one) if they were intermediate egrets.
Michael
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Agree GWE rather than IE (cf link below of Intermediate Egret)
  • Long, heavy bill
  • long flat sloping forehead (IE has slightly more rounder head with steeper forehead)
  • Very long, thin serpentine neck - ie 50% longer than body length inc. bill (cf IE proportionately thicker at base and much shorter, about equal to body length inc. bill).
  • Nb. the ‘kink criteria’ is not always helpful in photos where certain postures are ’frozen’ imo as the apparent neck shape can be misleading so estimate of neck/bill length vis a vis body length a good rule of thumb. See eg the ‘kink’ in the link of IE below cf to your last image where the kink is barely noticeable and apparently less kinked than the IE. In the field, this ‘kink criteria’ is more helpful.
  • shorter feathering on the lower mandible equidistant as feathering on upper mandible (feathering extends further on lower mandible of IE giving a slightly ’saggy’ chin look similar to CE)
  • Gape line extending beyond rear of eye (shorter in IE)
  • lack of dark tip to bill
  • IE is imo, overall more reminiscent of CE with a more stockier, compact, rounder headed, jowled appearance but closer in size to GWE so distinguishing on features rather than size is perhaps more helpful in photos.
cf intermediate
 
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Hainan on the fly

Well-known member
I agree on all too. Great vs intermediate is the only tricky one there and, as you correctly state, the kink is too great for intermediate; they do have one just not as pronounced. You would also be able to see the dark tip to the bill in most of those pictures (possibly not the first one) if they were intermediate egrets.
Michael
Thanks Dawsy! The tip and the tip is very helpful ;)
 

Hainan on the fly

Well-known member
Agree GWE rather than IE (cf link below of Intermediate Egret)
  • Long, heavy bill
  • long flat sloping forehead (IE has slightly more rounder head with steeper forehead)
  • Very long, thin serpentine neck - ie 50% longer than body length inc. bill (cf IE proportionately thicker at base and much shorter, about equal to body length inc. bill).
  • Nb. the ‘kink criteria’ is not always helpful in photos where certain postures are ’frozen’ imo as the apparent neck shape can be misleading so estimate of neck/bill length vis a vis body length a good rule of thumb. See eg the ‘kink’ in the link of IE below cf to your last image where the kink is barely noticeable and apparently less kinked than the IE. In the field, this ‘kink criteria’ is more helpful.
  • shorter feathering on the lower mandible equidistant as feathering on upper mandible (feathering extends further on lower mandible of IE giving a slightly ’saggy’ chin look similar to CE)
  • Gape line extending beyond rear of eye (shorter in IE)
  • lack of dark tip to bill
  • IE is imo, overall more reminiscent of CE with a more stockier, compact, rounder headed, jowled appearance but closer in size to GWE so distinguishing on features rather than size is perhaps more helpful in photos.
cf intermediate
Thanks so much Deb! This separation criteria is amazing! I really enjoy reading your comments and reference photos. They are so very helpful and appreciated.

Cheers,

Brian
 

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