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Great Egret with dark bill tip in California (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
This bird was seen 26 Oct. 2020 on the coast in central California. This is not really a question about identification, I am sure the bird is a Great Egret, but I am not accustomed to seeing Great Egrets anywhere in North America with this kind of bill coloring. I have seen them with a narrow dark line on the culmen, but not with an irregular black tip. I do think this is real pigmentation and not some mud on its bill. I know some old-world Great Egrets do get a black bill when breeding. I am interested if anyone has any thoughts on this bird, or if they have had experience with similar birds in America.


  • GREG 26Oct20 right bill 2.jpg
    GREG 26Oct20 right bill 2.jpg
    108.6 KB · Views: 96
  • GREG 26Oct20 left bill 2.jpg
    GREG 26Oct20 left bill 2.jpg
    157.6 KB · Views: 75


Well-known member
It looks to me (1st image) that there’s been some splintering of the bone on the upper mandible, as it appears somewhat “stepped” to my eye?



Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
could it be not mud but oil or some other substance that has stained it? I am confused by the difference in looks from left and right.



It's just a flesh wound.
It looks stained to me. If you zoom in on the first picture, the stepped appearance is caused by a dark spot along the top edge of the bill.

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