Ardea alba - Linnaeus, 1758
Great Egret
Other English Common Names: great egret
Other Common Names: Garça-Branca-Grande
Synonym(s): Casmerodius albus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Ardea alba Linnaeus, 1758 (TSN 554135)
French Common Names: grande aigrette
Spanish Common Names: Garza Blanca, Guyratî
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103493
Element Code: ABNGA04040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Wading Birds
Image 7485

© Larry Master

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Pelecaniformes Ardeidae Ardea
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Ardea alba
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly included in the genus Casmerodius (see AOU 1995). Has been included in genus Egretta by some authors (AOU 1998).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 20Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Secure due primarily to the very large range, though the amount of suitable nesting habitat is relatively restricted.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N3B,N3M (29Aug2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S4), Arizona (S1B,S4N), Arkansas (S2S3B), California (S4), Colorado (S1B), Connecticut (S2B), Delaware (S1B), District of Columbia (S4N), Florida (S4), Georgia (S4), Idaho (S2B), Illinois (S3), Indiana (S1B), Iowa (S3B,S4N), Kansas (S3B), Kentucky (S2B), Louisiana (S4N,S5B), Maine (S1?B,S3N), Maryland (S3S4B), Massachusetts (S2B,S4N), Michigan (S2), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (S5B), Missouri (S3), Navajo Nation (S1N), Nebraska (SNRN), Nevada (S4B), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (S4B), New Mexico (S3B,S4N), New York (S4), North Carolina (S4B,S4N), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (S1), Oklahoma (S4B), Oregon (S3), Pennsylvania (S1B), Rhode Island (S1B), South Carolina (SNRB,SNRN), South Dakota (S3B), Tennessee (S2B,S3N), Texas (S5B), Vermont (S1B), Virginia (S2S3B,S3N), Washington (S3B), West Virginia (S1N), Wisconsin (S2B)
Canada Manitoba (S2S3B), Ontario (S2B), Quebec (S3), Saskatchewan (SNA)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDS: in North America locally from southern Oregon and southern Idaho south through California, Nevada, and southwestern Arizona, and from southeastern Saskatchewan, southwestern Manitoba, central Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin, central Illinois, southern Indiana, southern Ontario, northern Ohio, Vermont (probably), and Maine south through the Gulf states (and west to eastern Colorado, southern New Mexico, and south-central Texas), along both coasts of Mexico (interior locally), and through the Bahamas, Antilles, Middle America, and South America to southern Chile and southern Argentina. Widespread also in Old World. NORTHERN WINTER: occurs regularly north to North Carolina, southern U.S, and California; south through breeding range to southern South America; also Old World. In the U.S., areas with the highest winter densities include the Chassahowitzka NWR on the Gulf coast of Florida, the Sabine NWR on the coast near the Louisiana-Texas border, the southern Colorado River near the Imperial and Cibola refuges, and Humboldt Bay NWR in northern California (Root 1988). Wanders irregularly outside usual range; a few times to Hawaii.

Number of Occurrences: > 300

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: See Spendelow and Patton (1988) for information on distribution and abundance of coastal U.S. breeding populations.

Short-term Trend Comments: Populations in the south-central U.S. may be benefiting from crayfish aquaculture; bird population increases may be related to favorable foraging opportunities afforded by expanding crayfish aquaculture (Fleury and Sherry 1995).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: in North America locally from southern Oregon and southern Idaho south through California, Nevada, and southwestern Arizona, and from southeastern Saskatchewan, southwestern Manitoba, central Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin, central Illinois, southern Indiana, southern Ontario, northern Ohio, Vermont (probably), and Maine south through the Gulf states (and west to eastern Colorado, southern New Mexico, and south-central Texas), along both coasts of Mexico (interior locally), and through the Bahamas, Antilles, Middle America, and South America to southern Chile and southern Argentina. Widespread also in Old World. NORTHERN WINTER: occurs regularly north to North Carolina, southern U.S, and California; south through breeding range to southern South America; also Old World. In the U.S., areas with the highest winter densities include the Chassahowitzka NWR on the Gulf coast of Florida, the Sabine NWR on the coast near the Louisiana-Texas border, the southern Colorado River near the Imperial and Cibola refuges, and Humboldt Bay NWR in northern California (Root 1988). Wanders irregularly outside usual range; a few times to Hawaii.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV
Canada MB, ON, QC, SK

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; NatureServe, 2004; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AZ La Paz (04012), Maricopa (04013), Pinal (04021), Yuma (04027)
CA Butte (06007), Del Norte (06015), El Dorado (06017), Fresno (06019), Glenn (06021), Humboldt (06023), Imperial (06025), Kern (06029), Marin (06041), Merced (06047)*, Napa (06055), Riverside (06065), Sacramento (06067), Shasta (06089), Solano (06095), Tehama (06103), Yolo (06113)
CT Fairfield (09001), Middlesex (09007), New Haven (09009), New London (09011)
DE New Castle (10003), Sussex (10005)
FL Alachua (12001), Baker (12003), Bay (12005), Bradford (12007), Brevard (12009), Broward (12011), Calhoun (12013), Charlotte (12015), Citrus (12017), Clay (12019), Collier (12021), Columbia (12023), DeSoto (12027), Dixie (12029), Duval (12031), Escambia (12033), Franklin (12037), Gadsden (12039), Gilchrist (12041), Glades (12043), Gulf (12045), Hamilton (12047), Hardee (12049), Hendry (12051), Hernando (12053), Highlands (12055), Hillsborough (12057), Holmes (12059), Indian River (12061), Jackson (12063), Lafayette (12067), Lake (12069), Lee (12071), Leon (12073), Levy (12075), Madison (12079), Manatee (12081), Marion (12083), Martin (12085), Miami-Dade (12086), Monroe (12087), Nassau (12089), Okaloosa (12091), Okeechobee (12093), Orange (12095), Osceola (12097), Palm Beach (12099), Pasco (12101), Pinellas (12103), Polk (12105), Putnam (12107), Sarasota (12115), Seminole (12117), St. Johns (12109), St. Lucie (12111), Sumter (12119), Suwannee (12121), Taylor (12123), Volusia (12127), Wakulla (12129), Walton (12131), Washington (12133)
IA Allamakee (19005), Clayton (19043)*, Jackson (19097)*
ID Ada (16001), Adams (16003), Bannock (16005), Bear Lake (16007), Bingham (16011), Blaine (16013), Bonneville (16019), Boundary (16021), Camas (16025), Canyon (16027), Caribou (16029), Cassia (16031), Clark (16033), Custer (16037), Elmore (16039), Franklin (16041), Fremont (16043), Gem (16045), Gooding (16047), Jefferson (16051), Jerome (16053), Latah (16057), Madison (16065), Minidoka (16067), Nez Perce (16069), Oneida (16071), Owyhee (16073), Payette (16075), Power (16077), Teton (16081), Twin Falls (16083), Valley (16085), Washington (16087)
IN Greene (18055), Jackson (18071), La Porte (18091), Lake (18089), Marion (18097), Monroe (18105), Newton (18111)*, Porter (18127), Posey (18129), Starke (18149), Steuben (18151), Vanderburgh (18163)
KS Barton (20009), Cowley (20035), Leavenworth (20103), Linn (20107), Pottawatomie (20149), Riley (20161), Sedgwick (20173), Stafford (20185)
KY Ballard (21007), Carlisle (21039), Fulton (21075), Graves (21083), Henderson (21101)*, Hickman (21105), Jefferson (21111), Livingston (21139), Lyon (21143), Marshall (21157), Muhlenberg (21177), Trigg (21221)*, Union (21225)
MO Chariton (29041), Jefferson (29099), Lafayette (29107), Lincoln (29113), Mississippi (29133), Pemiscot (29155), Platte (29165)*, Ray (29177), Scott (29201), Vernon (29217)
NJ Atlantic (34001), Cape May (34009), Ocean (34029)
OH Franklin (39049), Lucas (39095)
OR Harney (41025), Klamath (41035)*, Lake (41037)
PA Dauphin (42043), Delaware (42045), Lancaster (42071), Philadelphia (42101), York (42133)
RI Newport (44005), Washington (44009)
SC Beaufort (45013), Berkeley (45015), Charleston (45019), Georgetown (45043)
SD Aurora (46003), Beadle (46005), Brookings (46011), Brown (46013), Brule (46015), Charles Mix (46023)*, Clark (46025), Codington (46029), Day (46037), Deuel (46039)*, Hyde (46069), Jerauld (46073), Kingsbury (46077), Marshall (46091), McCook (46087), McPherson (46089), Roberts (46109), Walworth (46129)
TN Dyer (47045)*, Hamilton (47065)*, Humphreys (47085)*, Johnson (47091)*, Lake (47095), Lauderdale (47097), Obion (47131)*, Sumner (47165), Washington (47179)*
VA Accomack (51001), Chesapeake (City) (51550), Hampton (City) (51650)*, Northampton (51131), Portsmouth (City) (51740), Virginia Beach (City) (51810), York (51199)
VT Franklin (50011), Grand Isle (50013)
WA Benton (53005), Cowlitz (53015), Grant (53025), Grays Harbor (53027), Pacific (53049), Stevens (53065), Thurston (53067), Yakima (53077)
WI Brown (55009), Buffalo (55011), Crawford (55023), Dodge (55027), Fond Du Lac (55039), Grant (55043)*, Green Lake (55047), Kenosha (55059), La Crosse (55063), Marinette (55075), Monroe (55081), St. Croix (55109), Trempealeau (55121), Walworth (55127), Waukesha (55133), Winnebago (55139)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Lower Connecticut (01080205)+, Narragansett (01090004)+, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+
02 Long Island Sound (02030203)+, Lower Delaware (02040202)+, Delaware Bay (02040204)+, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+, Chincoteague (02040303)+, Eastern Lower Delmarva (02040304)+, Lower Susquehanna-Swatara (02050305)+, Lower Susquehanna (02050306)+, Pokomoke-Western Lower Delmarva (02080111)+, Lower James (02080206)+, Hampton Roads (02080208)+
03 Albemarle (03010205)+, Coastal Carolina (03040208)+, Lake Marion (03050111)+, Cooper (03050201)+, South Carolina Coastal (03050202)+, Four Hole Swamp (03050206)+, Salkehatchie (03050207)+, Broad-St. Helena (03050208)+, Bulls Bay (03050209)+, St. Helena Island (03050210)+, Calibogue Sound-Wright River (03060110)+, St. Marys (03070204)+, Nassau (03070205)+, Upper St. Johns (03080101)+, Oklawaha (03080102)+, Lower St. Johns (03080103)+, Daytona - St. Augustine (03080201)+, Cape Canaveral (03080202)+, Vero Beach (03080203)+, Kissimmee (03090101)+, Northern Okeechobee Inflow (03090102)+, Western Okeechobee Inflow (03090103)+, Lake Okeechobee (03090201)+, Everglades (03090202)+, Florida Bay-Florida Keys (03090203)+, Big Cypress Swamp (03090204)+, Caloosahatchee (03090205)+, Florida Southeast Coast (03090206)+, Peace (03100101)+, Myakka (03100102)+, Charlotte Harbor (03100103)+, Sarasota Bay (03100201)+, Manatee (03100202)+, Little Manatee (03100203)+, Alafia (03100204)+, Hillsborough (03100205)+, Tampa Bay (03100206)+, Crystal-Pithlachascotee (03100207)+, Withlacoochee (03100208)+, Waccasassa (03110101)+, Econfina-Steinhatchee (03110102)+, Aucilla (03110103)+, Upper Suwannee (03110201)+, withlacoochee (03110203)+, Lower Suwannee (03110205)+, Santa Fe (03110206)+, Apalachee Bay-St. Marks (03120001)+, Lower Ochlockonee (03120003)+, Lower Chattahoochee (03130004)+, Apalachicola (03130011)+, Chipola (03130012)+, New (03130013)+, Apalachicola Bay (03130014)+, St. Andrew-St. Joseph Bays (03140101)+, Yellow (03140103)+, Perdido Bay (03140107)+, Pea (03140202)+, Lower Choctawhatchee (03140203)+
04 Menominee (04030108)+, Upper Fox (04030201)+, Lake Winnebago (04030203)+, Little Calumet-Galien (04040001)+, St. Joseph (04050001)+, Lake Michigan (04060200)+, Lake Champlain (04150408)+
05 Upper Scioto (05060001)+, Middle Green (05110003)+, Upper White (05120201)+, Lower White (05120202)+, Muscatatuck (05120207)+, Lower Cumberland-Old Hickory Lake (05130201)+, Lower Cumberland (05130205)+, Silver-Little Kentucky (05140101)+, Highland-Pigeon (05140202)+, Lower Ohio-Bay (05140203)+
06 Watauga (06010103)+*, Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga (06020001)+*, Kentucky Lake (06040005)+, Lower Tennessee (06040006)+
07 Upper Minnesota (07020001)+, Lac Qui Parle (07020003)+*, Lower St. Croix (07030005)+, Buffalo-Whitewater (07040003)+, La Crosse-Pine (07040006)+, Coon-Yellow (07060001)+, Grant-Little Maquoketa (07060003)+*, Turkey (07060004)+*, Apple-Plum (07060005)+*, Castle Rock (07070003)+, Upper Rock (07090001)+, Crawfish (07090002)+, The Sny (07110004)+, Peruque-Piasa (07110009)+, Kankakee (07120001)+, Iroquois (07120002)+*, Chicago (07120003)+, Des Plaines (07120004)+, Upper Fox (07120006)+, Cahokia-Joachim (07140101)+, Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau (07140105)+
08 Lower Mississippi-Memphis (08010100)+, Bayou De Chien-Mayfield (08010201)+, Obion (08010202)+, North Fork Forked Deer (08010204)+*, New Madrid-St. Johns (08020201)+, Little River Ditches (08020204)+
10 Lower Lake Oahe (10130105)+, West Missouri Coteau (10130106)+, Fort Randall Reservoir (10140101)+, Medicine Knoll (10140103)+, Upper James (10160003)+, Mud (10160005)+, Middle James (10160006)+, Lower James (10160011)+, Vermillion (10170102)+, South Big Sioux Coteau (10170103)+, Middle Big Sioux Coteau (10170201)+, Upper Big Sioux (10170202)+, Independence-Sugar (10240011)+, Lower Big Blue (10270205)+, Lower Grand (10280103)+, Lower Marais Des Cygnes (10290102)+, Little Osage (10290103)+, Lower Missouri-Crooked (10300101)+
11 Rattlesnake (11030009)+, Cow (11030011)+, Middle Arkansas-Slate (11030013)+, Kaw Lake (11060001)+
15 Imperial Reservoir (15030104)+, Lower Colorado (15030107)+, Yuma Desert (15030108)+, Middle Gila (15050100)+, Lower Gila (15070201)+
16 Bear Lake (16010201)+, Middle Bear (16010202)+
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Colville (17020003)+, Lower Crab (17020015)+, Upper Columbia-Priest Rapids (17020016)+, Lower Yakima, Washington (17030003)+, Idaho Falls (17040201)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Lower Henrys (17040203)+, Teton (17040204)+, Willow (17040205)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Blackfoot (17040207)+, Portneuf (17040208)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Raft (17040210)+, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+, Camas (17040220)+, Little Wood (17040221)+, C. J. Idaho (17050101)+, Bruneau (17050102)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+, Upper Owyhee (17050104)+, South Fork Boise (17050113)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Middle Snake-Payette (17050115)+, Payette (17050122)+, North Fork Payette (17050123)+, Weiser (17050124)+, Brownlee Reservoir (17050201)+, Palouse (17060108)+, Upper Salmon (17060201)+, Clearwater (17060306)+, Lower Columbia-Clatskanie (17080003)+, Queets-Quinault (17100102)+, Willapa Bay (17100106)+, Chetco (17100312)+, Nisqually (17110015)+, Puget Sound (17110019)+, Harney-Malheur Lakes (17120001)+, Silvies (17120002)+, Donner Und Blitzen (17120003)+, Silver (17120004)+, Summer Lake (17120005)+, Guano (17120008)+
18 Smith (18010101)+, Mad-Redwood (18010102)+, Mattole (18010107)+, Upper Klamath Lake (18010203)+*, Sacramento-Stone Corral (18020104)+, Lower American (18020111)+, South Fork American (18020129)+, Clear Creek-Sacramento River (18020154)+, Thomes Creek-Sacramento River (18020156)+, Upper Coon-Upper Auburn (18020161)+, Lower Sacramento (18020163)+, Middle Kern-Upper Tehachapi- (18030003)+, Upper Dry (18030009)+, Middle San Joaquin-Lower (18040001)+*, Upper Mokelumne (18040012)+, Upper Cosumnes (18040013)+, San Pablo Bay (18050002)+, Tomales-Drake Bays (18050005)+*, Salton Sea (18100204)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: A large wading bird with all-white plumage; long black legs and feet; a long neck; and a long, straight, pointed, yellow bill; in breeding plumage, long white plumes extend from back beyond end of tail; average length 99 cm, wingspan 130 cm (NGS 1983).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from most other white herons in larger size (averages 23 cm longer than reddish egret, 38 cm longer than snowy egret), unicolored yellowish bill, and all-black legs and feet. Differs from the white form of the great blue heron in having black legs and feet (vs. yellowish).
Reproduction Comments: Clutch size is 1-6 (usually 3-4) in the north, 2-3 in the south. Incubation lasts 23-25 days, by both sexes. Young fly at about 6 weeks. Nests solitarily or in small to large colonies (Harrison 1979). In Florida, failure of nests was associated with high rainfall (Frederick and Collopy 1989). May lay another clutch if eggs are lost during incubation (Byrd and Johnston 1991).
Ecology Comments: Nonbreeding: may gather in groups but usually forages singly, spreading out over available area.

In Florida, nestlings infected by the nematode EUSTRONGYLIDES IGNOTUS experienced higher mortality rates than did uninfected nestlings (Spalding et al. 1994).

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migratory in north; extensive post-breeding dispersal occurs prior to southward migration (Palmer 1962). Some banded in the U.S. reach northern Colombia (recorded in September and November; Hilty and Brown 1986). Breeders from the U.S. Atlantic coast are thought to winter in the Bahamas and West Indies (see Byrd and Johnston 1991). Migrants from the north are present in Costa Rica October-April (Stiles and Skutch 1989).
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Herbaceous wetland, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river, Scrub-shrub wetland, Tidal flat/shore
Riverine Habitat(s): Low gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Grassland/herbaceous
Habitat Comments: Marshes, swampy woods, tidal estuaries, lagoons, mangroves, streams, lakes, and ponds; also fields and meadows.

Nests primarily in tall trees, usually with other colonial water birds; in woods or thickets near water. See Spendelow and Patton (1988) for further details and information on geographic variation in nesting habitat. Returns to the same colony sites year after year.

Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Eats mainly fishes, amphibians, snakes, snails, crustaceans, insects, and small mammals; commonly forages in marshes and shallow water of ponds, also in fields (Palmer 1962).
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Diurnal
Phenology Comments: Arrives at roost at sunset or at dark, departs at first light (Palmer 1962). Forages during daylight (Powell 1987).
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 99 centimeters
Weight: 935 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Management Requirements: In Illinois, a public viewing area used once a week by humans 229 m from a rookery did not cause any overt responses from nesting birds (DeMauro 1993).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Colonial Wading Birds

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Breeding Colony
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding , or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Small heron colonies (rookeries or heronries) are often ephemeral in nature; recommend tracking rookeries which maintain a minimum of 15 active nests over 2-3 years. Where concentrations of non-breeding individuals occur within the boundaries of a breeding occurrence (especially if augmented by migrants), consider creating a separate occurrence with Location Use Class 'Nonbreeding.'
Mapping Guidance: Map Foraging Areas in separate polygons from the breeding colony if they are separated from the colony by areas simply flown over on commuting routes.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Occurrences include breeding colonies and foraging areas, but the separation distance pertains to breediing colonies. Hence, difference occurrences may overlap. Unsuitable habitat: upland areas, except those known to be used regularly for foraging (e.g., meadows used by great egrets).

Separation distance is an arbitrary compromise between the high mobility of these birds and the need for occurrences of practical size for conservation planning. Occurrences do not necessarily represent discrete populations or metapopulations.

Colony fidelity low in some species (e.g. Roseate Spoonbill, Dumas 2000; Glossy Ibis, Davis and Kricher 2000).

Feeding areas associated with a breeding colony (i.e. different features of the same occurrence) may be a number of kilometers away from the colony: averaging 12 kilometers for Roseate Spoonbill (Dumas 2000); 7.3 kilometers for Glossy Ibis (Davis and Kricher 2000); 2.8 to more than 5 kilometers for Snowy Egrets (Smith 1995).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: A low mean foraging range size for this group.
Date: 28Oct2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Roost, Foraging area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of flocks of non-breeding birds (including historical), including non-breeding birds within the breeding season and breeding individuals outside the breeding season; and potential recurring presence at a given location. Normally only areas where concentrations greater than 10 birds occur regularly for at least 20 days per year would be deemed occurrences. Be cautious about creating occurrences for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance arbitrary, set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of manageable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on foraging ranges from breeding rookeries.
Date: 19Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 04May1995
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 05Apr1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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