Western Reef-Heron: This Old World species is exclusively coastal. There is a dark (shown here) and light morph. Dark morph is slate gray overall with white chin and throat. Legs are black with yellow feet. The light morph is white overall with two long narrow plumes on the back of the crown.
Range and Habitat
Western Reef-Heron: Found mainly on the coasts in tropical west Africa, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and east to India. The first record in North America was in Massachusetts in 1983. Since then it has been seen in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York.
The Western Reef-Heron is a medium heron that may also be called the Western Reef-Egret. It is native to the tropical climates of the coasts of West Africa, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and India. This species will occasionally be spotted in the Cocos Islands, which is an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, as well as Canada and the United States. Breeding grounds are located in coastal wetlands, and nests are constructed on platforms in small trees or shrubs. Food is caught in shallow water, and diets consist of fish, crustaceans and mollusks. The conservation rating for the Western Reef-Heron is Least Concern.
The Western Reef-Heron is also known as the Western Reef Egret.
It has occurred as a vagrant twice in Canada and four times in the United States, first on Nantucket in April, 1983 and several times between 2005 and 2007 in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey.
The taxonomy of this species is being seriously questioned. There are three subspecies; E. g. gularis, schistacea, and dimorpha; all of which seem to be less related than formerly believed.
A group of herons has many collective nouns, including a "battery", "hedge", "pose", "rookery", and "scattering" of herons."