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 and Donsker 2017), dickeyi of southern California and Baja California, and rufescens of southern North America, West Indies, and Mexico. Pyle (2008) did not recognize dickeyi. The 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;

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, the most recent record in 2018 was also a dark-morph adult in breeding plumage at the Alda Platte River bridge crossing, Hall Co that was seen by many observers.  Fourth was an adult on a Missouri River sandbar in Dixon Co.  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 white morph is now rare, with less than 12% of birds along the Texas Gulf of Mexico coast being white morph birds (Dinsmore 2001). Reddish Egrets are rare north of Texas; there are at least 10 records for Colorado (Percival, post to COBIRDS Jul 2009,, accessed January 2018), including one in northeast Colorado 1 Sep 2002, one for Iowa, a juvenile 5-8 Sep 1993 (Kent and Dinsmore 1996), and two for Kansas 21 Jun-22 Sep (Thompson et al 2011), but none for Wyoming, South Dakota, or Missouri.


WPA: Waterfowl Production Area (Federal)

Literature Cited

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.

Dinsmore, S.J. 2001. First record of a Reddish Egret for Nebraska. NBR 69: 42-43.

Gill, F., and D. Donsker (Eds). 2017. IOC World Bird List (v 7.3), accessed 30 January 2018.

Jorgensen, J.G. 2002. 2002 (sic; =2000). (12th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 70: 84-90.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2020. Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens rufescens). In Birds of Nebraska — Online.

Birds of Nebraska – Online

Updated 31 Dec 2020