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Thread: ID help - Juvenile blue heron or juvenile snowy egret

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    Default ID help - Juvenile blue heron or juvenile snowy egret

    I posted this in another forum but got no replies. I thought it might be more appropriate here.

    Which bird - taken last week at a small pond away from the coast in Massachusetts? Please also tell me why you decided the way you did.

    TIA


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    Yellow feet...black bill...a snowy egret...

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    That is what I thought but I based it just on general body shape. What would beak and feet of a juvenile lbh look like?

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    Go here for Sibleys ID and contrast: http://www.sibleyguides.com/2012/08/...m-snowy-egret/ The feet are all yellow with no greenish tint, the wingtips are all white, no black. that is what I mainly used to identify the bird Alan.

    Little Blue Heron vs Snowy Egret

    • habits provide one of the best clues to the identity of foraging birds (see above)
    • wingtips show small dark gray tips on outer primaries (vs all white on Snowy Egret)
      This is variable and the gray tips can be very hard to see (usually invisible when the bird is at rest) but when gray tips can be confirmed they are diagnostic for Little Blue.

    • legs and feet pale, chalky pea-green with feet about the same color as the legs (vs leg color generally brighter lime green with at least some black and with contrasting brighter yellow feet ).
      Some young Snowy Egrets show dull green legs with no black, and even substantial amounts of black (usually on the upper front of the legs) can be difficult to see. Presence of black is diagnostic for Snowy Egret, as is contrasting yellow feet.

    • bill usually paler grayish with less contrasting colors, outer 30–50% of bill dark grayish, entire base of bill pale greenish-gray or fleshy gray, not contrasting much with greenish loral skin (vs bill usually darker, with blackish on culmen extending back close to forehead and pale area at base of bill clean pale gray, contrasting with fairly bright yellow-green loral skin)
      But both species are variable, in particular very young birds. Both species can have the entire base of bill pinkish, yellowish, or gray (more variable in Little Blue), and both species can have contrasting yellowish loral skin (more common and more typical of Snowy Egret). Note that nestling Snowy Egrets have dark gray loral skin and some still show this color briefly after leaving tlie nest. In summary, a mostly blackish culmen is diagnostic for Snowy Egret, any other pattern can be shown by either species.

    • bill shape slightly deeper at base and more tapered, appearing slightly downcurved at times (vs. slightly thinner, more even depth)
      This feature also leads to broader loral skin on Little Blue and more open face with staring expression (vs. narrower loral skin on Snowy Egret with more squinting or frowning expression).

    • Little Blue seems to have a larger eye, broader bare skin on the lores, and maybe a less pronounced eyebrow ridge above the eye; all of which leads to a more wide-eyed, “staring” expression
      This is a consistent impression, but I haven’t been able to find any objective or measurable difference. Other things like bill thickness, lore color, or head shape may also contribute to the impression, and all can be very similar on young birds. For example, Little Blues average a higher and more rounded crown profile than Snowy, but very young Snowy Egrets also show a rounded crown.

    • Many immature Little Blue Herons show a short pointed plume or two on the back of the head (vs. immature Snowy Egret lacks plumes entirely, although very young birds retain fluffy down at the tips of some head feathers; and adult Snowy Egrets have a bushy tuft of lacy plumes on the back of the head)
    Last edited by Grady Weed; 08-19-2014 at 07:10 PM.

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    Here is a link for a web page that has 2 images, 1 little juvi and 1 little blue adult. http://birdnote.org/show/little-blue...light-and-dark

    See you at the movies!

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    That would be like this one. :)


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