Thu, 29 Oct 2020 06:12:49 +0000
Herons and egrets of Tobago
Faraaz Abdool discusses these elegantly-shaped, wading birds that can be found locally. If you enjoy his way of helping us to see birds, look for the newest birding publication on Amazon, Casual Birding in Trinidad and Tobago. All photos are by Faraaz Abdool.
Some of the most commonly encountered birds are members of the family Ardeidae, with their distinctive shape and gait. Often long-legged and long-necked, these lithe masters of the sit-and-wait are fixtures around coasts and waterways all over the world. This global family consists of around 63 species, of which more than a third has been recorded within TT.
Herons, bitterns and egrets share many of the same characteristics. They all have a long, pointed bill at the end of a long neck that is often held in an "S" shape. When retracted, these birds look comically stocky – but let this not fool you. This is the proverbial coiled spring, the cocked gun, and the drawn bow – ready to let fly at a moment’s notice. That pointed bill is for impaling a wide array of smaller animals; individual species do have preferences but the process of food acquisition is fairly consistent throughout the family.
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