Little egret Egretta garzetta, from here.

Belongs within: Ardeidae.

Egretta, the egrets, is a genus of colonially-breeding herons known for the feathery plumes that they grow in the breeding season. They also possess powder-down patches on the thighs in addition to those on the breast and rump (Heather & Robertson 1996). Many egrets are white in colouration but the genus also includes darker-coloured species such as the white-faced heron Egretta novaehollandiae and the little blue heron E. caerulea. The Pacific reef heron E. sacra has both white and dark forms, as does the reddish egret E. rufescens of the northern Neotropical region. The tricoloured heron E. tricolor has a blue-grey head, neck and back and a white belly.

<==Egretta Forster 1817 (see below for synonymy) CC10
    |--+--E. caerulea JT12
    |  `--+--E. rufescens JT12
    |     `--E. tricolor JT12
    `--+--E. novaehollandiae (Latham 1790) JT12, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
       |    |--E. n. novaehollandiae CC10
       |    `--E. n. nana CC10 [=Ardea novaehollandiae nana HR96]
       `--+--E. eulophotes (Swinhoe 1860) JT12, I92
          `--+--*E. garzetta (Linnaeus 1766) CC10, JT12, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
             |    |--E. g. garzetta CC10
             |    |--E. g. dimorpha Hartert 1914 CS77
             |    |--E. g. immaculata (Gould 1846) (see below for synonymy) CC10
             |    `--E. g. nigripes (Temminck 1840) [=Ardea nigripes] CC10
             `--E. thula JT12

Egretta incertae sedis:
  E. ardesiaca JT12
  E. candidissima S18 [=Garzetta candidissima SS66]
  ‘Herodias’ egretta S18
  E. gularis (Bosc 1792) [=Ardea gularis] CS77
    |--E. g. gularis CS77
    `--E. g. schistacea (Hemprich & Ehrenberg 1828) CS77 [=E. garzetta schistacea SU93]
  ‘Herodias’ pacifica N87
  E. picata SU93
  E. sacra (Gmelin 1789) CC10 (see below for synonymy)
    |--E. s. sacra (see below for synonymy) CC10
    `--E. s. albolineata CC10 [=Ardea albolineata S13, Herodias albolineata S13]
  E. vinaceigula JT12

Nomen nudum: Egretta brevipes Verr. & Murs 1862 S13

Egretta Forster 1817 [=Garzetta Kaup 1829, Erodias Brehm 1832, Erodius Macgillivray 1842 non Fabricius 1775, Herodias Boie 1822; incl. Demegretta Blyth 1852, Demiegretta Baird 1858, Demigretta Blyth 1846, Hemiegretta Bonaparte 1857, Notophoyx Sharpe 1895; Herodiini] CC10

*Egretta garzetta (Linnaeus 1766) CC10, JT12, CC10 [=Ardea garzetta CC10, *Garzetta garzetta CC10, *Herodias garzetta CC10; incl. A. elegans S66, A. xanthopoda S66]

Egretta garzetta immaculata (Gould 1846) [=Herodias immaculata; incl. E. garzetta kempi Mathews 1916, H. melanopus Gould 1865 non Ardea melanopus Wagler 1829] CC10

Egretta novaehollandiae (Latham 1790) JT12, CC10 [=Ardea novaehollandiae CC10, *Notophoyx novaehollandiae CC10, Ardea leucops Wagler 1827 CC10; incl. N. novaehollandiae parryi Mathews 1912 WS48]

Egretta sacra (Gmelin 1789) CC10 [=Ardea sacra CC10, A. (Herodias) sacra CC10, Demiegretta sacra CC10, Demigretta sacra CC10; incl. Demigretta matook carteri Mathews 1920 WS48, *Demiegretta concolor CC10, Demigretta sacra tormenti Mathews 1912 WS48]

Egretta sacra sacra (Gmelin 1789) [incl. Ardea cinerea Ellman 1861 non Linnaeus 1758, A. jugularis Wagler 1827, A. iugularis, A. matook Vieillot 1817, Demigretta sacra matook, Herodias matook, H. pannosus Gould 1848, Ardea pannosa, H. pannosa] CC10

*Type species of generic name indicated


[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

[CS77] Cramp, S., & K. E. L. Simmons (eds) 1977. Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palaearctic vol. 1. Ostrich to Ducks. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

[HR96] Heather, B. D., & H. A. Robertson. 1996. The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Viking: Auckland.

[I92] Iwahashi, J. (ed.) 1992. Reddo Deeta Animaruzu: a pictorial of Japanese fauna facing extinction. JICC: Tokyo.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[N87] North, A. J. 1887. List of references to authentic descriptions of Australian birds' eggs. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (4): 1163–1174.

[S13] Sarasin, F. 1913. Die Vögel Neu-Caledoniens und der Loyalty-Inseln. In: Sarasin, F., & J. Roux (eds) Nova Caledonia: Forschungen in Neu-Caledonian und auf den Loyalty-Inseln. A. Zoologie vol. 1 pt 1 pp. 1–78, pls 1–3. C. W. Kreidels Verlag: Wiesbaden.

[S66] Schlegel, H. 1866. Communication from, on mammals and birds collected in Madagascar. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 419–426.

[SS66] Sclater, P. L., & O. Salvin. 1866. Catalogue of birds collected by Mr. E. Bartlett on the River Uyacali, Eastern Peru, with notes and descriptions of new species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 175–201.

[SU93] Sonobe, K., & S. Usui (eds.) 1993. A Field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. Wild Bird Society of Japan: Tokyo.

[S18] Stone, W. 1918. Birds of the Panama Canal Zone, with special reference to a collection made by Mr. Lindsey L. Jewel. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 70: 239–280.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M., & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1–126.

Last updated: 1 December 2021.

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