Egretta rufescens rufescens
Status: Rare casual summer visitor.
Documentation: Photograph: 27 Sep-15 Oct 2000 Lake McConaughy, Keith Co (Dinsmore 2001, Jorgensen 2002, Brogie 2009).
Taxonomy: There are two subspecies recognized (Gill et al 2022), dickeyi of southern California and Baja California, and rufescens of southern North America, West Indies, and Mexico. Pyle (2008) did not recognize dickeyi.
Nebraska records are presumed rufescens.
Summer: There are four records, all of which are documented:
12 Jun 2008 alternate adult Funk WPA, Phelps Co (Brogie 2009)
23-26 Jun 2018 alternate adult, Alda Platte River bridge crossing, Hall Co (photo, above; Brogie 2019)
17 Aug 2020 alternate adult, Missouri River mile 756 sandbar, Dixon Co (Shannon Langland photo, eBird.org; Brogie 2021)
27 Sep-15 Oct 2000 white morph immature photographed Lake McConaughy (Dinsmore 2001, Jorgensen 2002, Brogie 2009).
The first record was of a white morph immature at the west end of Lake McConaughy 27 Sep-15 Oct 2000 (Dinsmore 2001). It was photographed, and the pictures examined by Rich Paul, who confirmed the identification and, though ageing is difficult, thought the bird to be an immature. Second was an individual in “full breeding plumage” at Funk WPA, Phelps Co 12 Jun 2008 (Brogie 2009). Similarly, in 2018 a dark-morph adult was in breeding plumage at the Alda Platte River bridge crossing, Hall Co and was seen by many observers. Fourth was an adult on a Missouri River sandbar in Dixon Co (Brogie 2021). A white morph was briefly seen in Lancaster Co 4 May 2016, but the report did not contain enough information for acceptance by NOURC (Brogie 2017).
The four Nebraska records (Jun-Oct) are northernmost on the Great Plains; in neighboring states, there are about 15 records in eastern Colorado, most during Jul-Sep, three in Kansas Jun-Sep, and one in Iowa in Sep (eBird.org, accessed Oct 2023).
The white morph is now rare, with less than 12% of birds along the Texas Gulf of Mexico coast white morphs (Dinsmore 2001).
WPA: Waterfowl Production Area (Federal)
Brogie, M.A. 2009. 2008 (20th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 77: 80-90.
Brogie, M.A. 2017. 2016 (28th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 85: 128-142.
Brogie, M.A. 2019. 2018 (30th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 87: 96-109.
Brogie, M.A. 2021. 2020 (32nd) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 89: 139-145.
Dinsmore, S.J. 2001. First record of a Reddish Egret for Nebraska. NBR 69: 42-43.
Gill, F., D. Donsker, and P. Rasmussen (Eds). 2022. IOC World Bird List (v 12.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.12.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
Jorgensen, J.G. 2002. 2002 (sic; =2000). (12th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 70: 84-90.
Pyle, P. 2008. Identification Guide to North American Birds. Part II, Anatidae to Alcidae. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, California, USA.
Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2023. Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens rufescens). In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org
Birds of Nebraska – Online
Updated 22 Oct 2023