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Pacific Reef-egret

PACIFIC REEF-EGRET
Photos Jean-Paul Mutz


APPEARANCE AND IDENTIFICATION

23 inches. Male and female identical in appearance. Multiphase species with individuals with white feathers or grey plumage. White egrets are more common in the Tuamotu where the sand is clear while the grey egrets dominate the volcanic islands, where they hunt on black sand beaches and mudflats. It is a large wading bird with yellow legs. Its beak is strong and straight and its colour varies from black to pink. Its very characteristic long neck is folded in flight and sometimes at rest. Its silhouette can then be confused in Tahiti with that of the Striated Heron (Green-backed Heron), Butorides striatus, whose neck is very short.


Order: Pelecaniformes

Family: Ardeidae

Category: Large range Waterbirds


LOCATION

Can be found everywhere in French Polynesia but also from India to New Zealand, Fiji and Micronesia.


CHARACTERISTICS
Coral reefs, beaches but also valleys and rivers in the high islands.

Makes a guttural “croak» when disturbed and flees or on arrival at the nest.

To listen the Pacific Reef-egret:
http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Egretta-sacra

Small fishes, crustaceans, insects and lizards.

Nests all year in trees and bushes, cliff cavities, sometimes on the ground in colonies of a dozen of individuals. Nests are 12 inches in diameter. They are often used from one year to another after a new supply of materials. Both sexes nurse 2-3 light blue eggs of 2 by 1.3 inches. The reproduction was studied in New Zealand where Incubation lasts 25-27 days. The young leave the nest 5-6 weeks after hatching.

Original text by Caroline BLANVILLAIN – Supplements and update by various members of the SOP Manu.

Bibliography :
https://inpn.mnhn.fr/espece/cd_nom/441881
http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/species.jsp?avibaseid=C79F1BF8CA6BC1F8
http://www.oiseaux.net/oiseaux/aigrette.sacree.html
http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/pacific-reef-egret-egretta-sacra
http://www.hbw.com/ibc/species/pacific-reef-egret-egretta-sacra
https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22696980/131759460

NAMES

Scientific Name: Egretta sacra (Gmelin, 1789)

Polynesian Names:
Otu’u – ‘otu’u (Society and Austral) – kotuku (Tuamotu) – matuku – matu’u (Marquesas)

LOCATION
  • Society
  • Austral
  • Tuamotu
  • Gambier
  • Marquesas (Eiao, Hatuta’a, Mohotani, Fatu Huku)

STATUS AND PROTECTION

Non threatened species and abundant in French Polynesia.
The species is classified as “Least Concern” (LC) on the IUCN Red List.