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Temporal range: Late Miocene to present
|White-faced heron, Egretta novaehollandiae|
T. Forster, 1817
Egretta is a genus of medium-sized herons, mostly breeding in warmer climates. Representatives of this family are found in most of the world, and the little egret, as well as being widespread throughout much of the Old World, has now started to colonise the Americas.
These are typical egrets in shape, long-necked and long-legged. There are few plumage features in common, although several have plumes in breeding plumage; a number of species are either white in all plumages, have a white morph (e.g. reddish egret), or have a white juvenile plumage (little blue heron).
As with other heron groupings, the taxonomy of these birds has been a source of dispute. Some of these species have been placed with the great herons in Ardea, and conversely the large white species like great egret are occasionally allocated to Egretta.
The fact that some of the group are named "heron" and some "egret" has no taxonomic significance.
- Little egret, Egretta garzetta or Ardea garzetta
- Snowy egret, Egretta thula
- Reddish egret, Egretta rufescens
- Slaty egret, Egretta vinaceigula
- Black heron, Egretta ardesiaca
- Tricolored heron, Egretta tricolor also known as Louisiana heron
- White-faced heron, Egretta novaehollandiae or Ardea novaehollandiae
- Little blue heron, Egretta caerulea
- Pacific reef heron, Egretta sacra or Ardea sacra, also known as Pacific reef egret or eastern reef heron
- Western reef heron, Egretta gularis
- Dimorphic egret, Egretta dimorpha
- Chinese egret, Egretta eulophotes
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