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Bird Island Species

Cattle Egret

Other Names: Cattle heron, buff-backed heron
Length: 19-21 inches
Wingspan: 36-38 inches
Weight: about 12 oz. Age: N/A
Voice: Some croaking notes in nesting season; usually quiet
Flight speed: N/A
Food: follows cattle and eats insects frightened from grass as cattle walk and graze; grasshoppers, crickets, frogs, spiders, toads; differs from other herons by feeding on insects and vertebrates in fields and pastures away from water

Glossy Ibis

Other Names: black curlew
Length: smallest member of ibis family; 19-26 in.
Wingspan: about 38 in.
Weight: to about 28 oz.
Age: one reported in Russia at 21 yrs.
Voice: nasal grunting or series of guttural notes
Food: mostly crayfishes inland and fiddler crabs along the coasts; also snakes, grasshoppers, insects.
Color: plumage mostly chestnut with metallic gloss appearing black at distance; legs gray or green-black
Nest: platform of sticks on ground or cattail marsh or in trees up to 10 feet

Great Blue Heron

Other Names: blue crane
Length: 42-52 in. long
Wingspan: to seven feet
Weight: 5-8 lbs.; males average slightly larger
Flight Speed: timed from 18-35 mph; identified in flight by large size, broad wingspread and head folded back on shoulders
Age: one banded wild bird was recovered after 21 yrs.
Voice: low-pitched croaks; usually silent but in flight may utter honking notes
Food: stands motionless in shallow water waiting to strike small fish with pointed bill which are swallowed whole; also frogs, snakes, crabs dragonflies, etc.

Great Heron

Other Names: American egret, great white egret
Length: 37-41 in.
Wingspan: about 55 in.
Weight: 32-40 oz.
Age: one banded bird recovered after 22 yrs.
Voice: loud, low-pitched croak
Food: fish, frogs, snakes, rats, insects grasshoppers, etc.
Color: all white at all seasons (no color phases), yellow bill; beginning in January both sexes have splendid cape of white plumes growing from the back

Little Blue Heron

Other Names: little blue crane
Length: 25-29 in.
Wingspan: about 41 in.
Weight: to about 14 oz.
Age: one banded in wild found after 7 yrs.
Voice: usually silent but occasionally utters low clucking or croaking sounds; quarreling sounds resemble screams of parrots
Food: slow, methodical manner of feeding; seldom feeds in salt water; fish, frogs, snakes insects and spiders; can live solely on grasshoppers and insects of grasslands.

Reddish Egret

Other Names: plume bird
Length: 27-32 in.
Wingspan: about 46 in.
Weight: may be over one lb.
Age: one banded bird found after 12 yrs.
Voice: generally silent but utters guttural croaks and low clucking sounds
Food: has characteristic manner of dashing or lurching when feeding; rakes bottom of shallow water to stir up prey; small fish, frogs, tadpoles.

Snowy Egret

Other Names: little snowy, lesser egret
Length: 22-26 in.
Wingspan: 38-45 in.
Weight: up to about 13 oz.
Age: one in captivity aged at 16 yrs.
Voice: very noisy at start of breeding season in nesting colonies
Food: stirs bottom of shallows with one foot and catches small fish, shrimps, crayfishes, etc.; also grasshoppers and aquatic insects.
Color: all white with black bill, black legs and bright yellow feet; spotless white plumage in breeding season, adorned with waving nuptial plumes

Tricolored Heron

Other Names: Louisiana heron, scoggin
Length: 24-26 in.
Wingspan: 36 in.
Weight: to about 11 oz.
Age: one banded bird recaptured after 17 yrs.
Voice: harsh croaks, deep groans
Food: stands belly-deep in water stalking small fish or runs through shallows with wings partly raised; lizards, tadpoles water bugs, beetles
Color: dark heron with slate-colored head, neck and back; front of long neck striped red-brown and white; belly and flanks white; back and wings blue-gray; long plumes in breeding season.

White Ibis

Other Names: Brown curlew, Spanish curlew, white curlew, stone curlew
Length: 21 1/2-27 1/2 in.
Wingspan: 38 in.
Weight: up to two lbs.
Age: one in captivity lived 18+ yrs.
Voice: low croak, grunt;
Food: Crayfish; probes mud for crustaceans; also fishes, frogs, small snakes, slugs, snails, beetles
Color: white with black wing tips which are hidden at rest; face, legs and long down-curved bill are pink, legs turn red in breeding season.

Wood Stork

Other Names: American wood stork, flinthead, gannet, ironhead; wrongly called wood ibis;
Length: 35-45 in.
Wingspan: about 3 1/2 feet
Weight: Males weigh 10 lb. or more; females less
Age: One in captivity lived 6+ yrs. members of stork family are normally long lived
Voice: Storks do not have muscles in the syrinx (voice box) so almost voiceless except for low grunts and hisses; however, the young are noisy
Food: Walks about in shallow ponds and marshes groping with open bill swallowing any living thing bill touches; “rough” fishes, frogs, tadpoles, snakes, young alligators