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Great or Intermediate Egret? (Singapore) (1 Viewer)

OlimBirds

New member
United Kingdom
Just found this thread while Googling this very question and hoping someone might be able to help. I saw this egret from the window of a tour bus near the Gardens by the Bay five years ago, when I was just starting to get into birding, and at the time assumed it was a Great Egret.
However, I’ve belatedly realised Intermediate is probably just as likely there and the seemingly shorter bill, legs and more rounded head now have me wondering. Is it possible to ID between the two species from these photos?
 

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Butty

Well-known member
I guessed from your description, and it's confirmed by the photos, that it was a cattle egret. The great/intermediate distinction is much more subtle. This habitat is also far more typical of cattle egret.
 

OlimBirds

New member
United Kingdom
I guessed from your description, and it's confirmed by the photos, that it was a cattle egret. The great/intermediate distinction is much more subtle. This habitat is also far more typical of cattle egret.
Ah yes…this makes much more sense. Think I forget about non-breeding Cattle Egrets not looking so obviously different as they do in breeding plumage.
 

johnallcock

Well-known member
Difficult given the quality of the photos, but I think this latest bird is an Intermediate. The legs and neck look too long for Cattle for me (even Eastern Cattle).
Intermediate does often forage on grassland like this, especially after rain, so you should be cautious relying on the habitat too much.
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
Difficult given the quality of the photos, but I think this latest bird is an Intermediate. The legs and neck look too long for Cattle for me (even Eastern Cattle).
Intermediate does often forage on grassland like this, especially after rain, so you should be cautious relying on the habitat too much.
At first sight, I was going to agree with John that Intermediate Egret looks better than Cattle Egret. Cattle Egret should appear squatter (more squat) I thought and I thought the neck shape looked good for Intermediate. Looking a further time, the legs, on the other hand (© Tom Stoppard) looked much better for Cattle. So, I looked at some of my old photos from recent years in my area. As a result, I'm going for Cattle Egret on the basis that the neck could be OK (although I think you don't get Cattle Egrets putting their neck in this position often), and that the legs look just right and not good for Intermediate.

The attached photo to illustrate my point shows the neck of a breeding male which could, I think, map onto post #21 from OlimBirds. Obviously the orange bill and feathering of my bird will not be on OlimBirds's bird which will be much yellower. But the fact that the colouration shows it is an unmistakeable Cattle Egret shows that this neck shape doesn't eliminate that species when looking at post #21.

170704027 Nara Ponds.jpg
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
I would make the first of these 2 photos unequivocal intermediate. There is a crook in the neck, and the neck is simply (just) too long for a castle egret. In contrast, I would not be able to safely id the second image.

(If in doubt, I suspect careful forensic measurement of neck length : body length ratios against appropriate Macaulay images would confirm)
 

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