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Thread: Great White Egret with Red Legs

  1. #1
    Senior Member Odonate's Avatar
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    May 2008

    Default Great White Egret with Red Legs

    Hi all

    This weekend several birders in Novara, Northern Italy observed the bird below. It is clearly a Great White Egret (Casmerodius albus). The dark bill would suggest a breeding plumaged bird however, the bird lacks the classic Egret plumes associated with breeding plumage. Then there are the red legs! It has been suggested that some C. albus albus can show red legs for short periods of time during breeding although this feature is more common in C. albus modestus. Based on size (and probability), I don't think that this can be modestus. Searching the net, I have come up with several birds in various European countries (Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy and others) which show red legs at various times of the year with differing theories. Anyone know if a final conclusion has been reached on these birds? The thing that is really bothering me is, if this bird is at the peak of its breeding condition, why does it not show an impressive array of plumes? Does anyone have experience of such birds?

    Photos by Ettore Rigamonte
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Senior Member AndyB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    Hi Ettore, take it you have seen these photos:
    cannot access rarebirdspain website but looks like when it is up, there is a video too. I get the impression that these birds are being referred to as "types"

  3. #3
    Junior Member italianbirder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Po river Delta, NE Italy


    This is a recurrent topic in italian forums. However the species is a regular breeder in Italy, e.g. in the reserve of Valle Mandriole, the Po river Delta. From the watchtower of the reserve you may easily check the breeding colony and see (regularly) that the breeding adults of the local population have red legs (even this is not written in the books...).
    Last edited by italianbirder; February 10th, 2010 at 06:59 PM.

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