Reddish Egret Hunting in the Gulf of Mexico

/, Florida, Fort De Soto County Park, Pinellas County, Reddish Egrets/Reddish Egret Hunting in the Gulf of Mexico

White morph Reddish Egret hunting behaviorWhite morph Reddish Egret hunting behavior – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm at 220mm, natural light

Yesterday on Facebook I saw a video that reminded me of how much fun it was to get into the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico or a tidal lagoon and photograph Reddish Egrets while they hunted for prey. I must have watched the video a dozen times since I first saw it in my timeline.

You don’t have to be a member of Facebook to see the video here but you may have to scroll to get around the log into Facebook text. When the video first shows click the dark area in the background then click the smaller version of the video to play it other wise it doesn’t display the whole width and you can’t see the bird. I think the music they used for the video works great with the movement of the egret.

Reddish Egrets have two morphs, the dark morph where they are reddish and a white morph. The white morphs are less common in the U.S. and in the Caribbean the white morphs predominate.

White morph Reddish on the huntWhite morph Reddish on the hunt – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1500, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm at 240mm, natural light

I photographed this white morph Reddish Egret hunting in the Gulf of Mexico in June of 2008 and truly enjoyed observing its hunting behavior through my lens. Reddish Egrets sway, run, dash, prance and dance while they are hunting.

I’ve had this species completely ignore me while I have sat photographing them in quiet lagoons as they ran around chasing prey, at times I had them come so close to me that I couldn’t focus on them and wondered if I was going to get run over by a wading bird.

White morph Reddish Egret making a splashWhite morph Reddish Egret making a splash – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm at 240mm, natural light

In this frame the Reddish Egret had plunged its head and bill into the water in an attempt to capture prey.

I loved photographing both morphs but always enjoyed seeing the white morphs against the blue water of the Gulf and tidal lagoons.

White morph Reddish Egret after missed attempt for preyWhite morph Reddish Egret after missed attempt for prey – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1500, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm at 240mm, natural light

There are only about 2000 breeding pairs of Reddish Egrets in the United States making them our least common, or even rarest wading bird. They are found along the Atlantic coast of Florida, the Gulf coast, the coast of Mexico west towards Baja, Central America, the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America.

I’m glad I was able to spend so much time photographing Reddish Egrets in Florida. The video I shared reminded me of how much fun it was to photograph these delightful wading birds while they hunted.

Life is good.


Click to see more images of this species.

Reddish Egret Images


  1. Tom Martin August 26, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Amazing captures of a stunning subject reddish egret morph. Thanks Mia, Tom

  2. Pepe Forte August 24, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Incredible wings! Such grace and beauty and strength. Icarus must be rolling over in his grave. Thanks again, Mia.

  3. Elephant's Child August 24, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Glorious things. Thank you.

  4. Linda Laugen August 24, 2016 at 9:55 am

    These birds must be where artists through the ages have gotten their ideas for angels’ wings!

    • Patty Chadwick August 24, 2016 at 10:43 am

      I had a similar thought…

  5. Patty Chadwick August 24, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Beautiful images! Especially the second and the last…

  6. Lois Bryan August 24, 2016 at 8:53 am

    oh GOODNESS!!!! How beeeeautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Jo Smith August 24, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Growing up on the Texas coast there seemed to be a lot of Reddish Egrets, never saw a white morph. In fact I didn’t realize they existed until your article. So sad to learn there are so few of these left. Just to damn much habitat loss. Where I enjoyed watching black skimmers and least terns nest one summer in the early sixties is now bulkheaded and is a park and parking line for the ferries.

  8. April Olson August 24, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Beautiful birds, thank you for the video, I had to share it to my daughter who is feeling down lately. It made me smile hopefully she will too.

  9. pennypinchadventure Tim Traver August 24, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Nature: she sure does have a sense of humor when it comes to color morphs! Got to love infinite variety!

  10. Bob McPherson August 24, 2016 at 6:33 am

    Beautiful photos Mia. These birds are majestic and so animated.

  11. Jorge H. Oliveira August 24, 2016 at 6:31 am

    It is interesting to see that I am following the same path that you did … (with a delay of seven years)
    Yesterday it was the gull and today this White Egret.
    Last year I was able to follow and photograph a White Egret hunting a fish.
    It was really fascinating to observe all that action that you described so well.
    Thank you for showing the way.

  12. Kathy Lopez August 24, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Beautiful! And yes I had to watch that video numerous times!

  13. Joan August 24, 2016 at 5:31 am

    Wow, stunning!

Comments are closed.