Amazing Pink Egret!
These photos were just sent to me by a friend in Placquemine, LA. His family owns Dupont’s Nursery, and his grandfather is the man who developed the gorgeous Cajun Hibiscus you have seen featured in some of my photographs. His name is Rob, and he did me a huge favor by forwarding these photos to me this morning.
He has seen this bird hanging around the nursery recently and was finally able to photograph it in a nearby field while the grass was being mowed. I assume the cattle egret was following behind the cutter picking up bugs to eat.
I am not taking time to research this before posting it up, because I have to jet outta here to go fishing, but if one of you does a follow up and gains any information on this, please share it with us here. LSU is supposed to go there today and check out this amazingly colored bird. (And it’s not as simple as eating shrimp, because there aren’t any shrimp available where this bird was discovered.)
See for yourself!
Is this a cross between a Roseate Spoonbill and a Cattle Egret? Can that even happen? This is the color of the roseates, though!
Okay, be back later to read your comments!!!
I second that – Wow!
Amazing photos – what a shade o’ plumage!
As it appears to be a juvenile, I wonder if it might be the “Reddish Egret” – specifically the “Dark Morph”:
The “White Morph” o’ this genus do not seem to carry any red in their plumage at all!
According to Audubon; “…the Reddish Egret is the rarest and least well-known of the North American herons”
According to The Daily Green; “Nearly extirpated from the U.S. by about 1900, this beautiful shorebird survived the hat-plume craze but barely. Reddish egret numbers remain low, and the National Audubon Society has designated it a red WatchList species because habitat loss threatens the remaining population. Most breeding happens along the Texas Coast, and the Florida population – before the BP oil spill – stood at just 10% of historic levels.”
Ye’d be surprised with a search for “Egret” how many folk don’t know an Egret from a Spoonbill or an Ibis…yet another reason Wetland Tours are such a valuable resource! (with a nod to our mates at Audubon as well)
Beautiful bird but also third that WOW
Stunning! OK, add a fifth WOW!
I went to Dupont’s website and, as always, want every hibiscus shown. Thanks for including the site for me to dream about.
What a gorgeous bird! Never seen one this color before. I’d love to know what caused him to be that beautiful pink.
Oh my! It is a gorgeous bird. Can pink flamingos cross with egrets?
I guess they could but we don’t have flamingos here. My first thought was roseate spoonbill, because that is their coloring.
We just left Galveston island , we were stuck in the hurricane ! And saw these birds on Jamaica island , I believe !
Wow! So thankful you made it out! Did you get photos?
Evidently pink cattle egrets do exist elsewhere in the world —
Yes, my first search turned up that these birds exist in Botswana. Will read your post later. Thanks for the linnk!
I just spent too much time searching the web, and found a few references to pink cattle egrets. This one is pretty spectacular, I’ll say that!
I did wonder if crawfish could affect color like the shrimp do. The mottling on this one suggests it’s a genetic thing, though. Either that or the salon it went to didn’t do a very good job at applying the color!
I can’t wait to find out what else you learn about it!
Will share with you as soon as I hear. LSU did not show up as of yesterday. You’d think they’d be on this like white on rice. AT least I would be!!!
Found this picture of pink egrets seen near Lake Charles, LA in February 2012. http://viewernet.kplctv.com/Media/View/2203466
Kendra, thanks for the photo, but I hate to be the one to inform the gal who took this photo . . . those are Roseate Spoonbills. IF you look closely, you can see the shape of their bills. They come here in the winter and hang out. The white birds in the photo are snowy egrets, just an FYI!! It’s okay, not everyone knows their birds like a true Bayou Woman, LOL!!!
My husband saw one in Plaqumine parish and was doing a search on pink egrets. Just to let y’all know there is another in Louisiana.
Did LSU ever show up.
I’m not sure, but I need to do a follow up. Thanks for reminding me.
I’m not sure, but I need to do a follow up. Thanks for reminding me. Okay, follow up said LSU showed up but the bird was gone. Sorry, I was no help at all! Let me know if y’all find out anything, please?
How pretty! It’s like a live lawn ornament! I bet PaPa Bill would like them… 🙂
That last photo should have a caption. Something like …
#@%$*&, I can’t eat a single meal without the #@%$&* paparazzi. It really ruffles my feathers!
It’s definitely a cattle egret…maybe one that migrated from somewhere else… Certain algae can make the pink color. It’ll be interesting to know what LSU says about it. Very beautiful! 🙂
Send him up here I know a lonely cattle egret….
I saw a pair fly across i-10 near mile marker 190.
My sister and I saw one of these pink egret on our way home from Shreveport to Red River Parish today. It was in a body of water by the road side with other white egret. We had never seen one before and didn’t know what is was until I found this post.
Hi Debbie, and thanks for taking the time to write about what you saw today. Some folks have confused a “roseate spoonbill” with this pink egret; but you seem very certain it was a pink cattle egret. I guess if they migrate that far, it could even be this same one. No one from LSU ever got to see it and determine what caused its pink plumage. If you hear anything else, please come back and let us know, won’t you? You’re welcome here any time, though. We have a great time on the bayou! BW
I saw a pink egret flying over the bridges connecting Morgan City, LA and Berwick, LA. At first I thought I was seeing things. I’ve only ever saw white ones. Now I know I’m not crazy.
Are you sure what you saw was an egret and not a roseate spoonbill?
Just checking the internet for pink egret. I saw one this morning. I live on a small lake that connects via a narrow channel to Mobile Bay. There are herons, egrets, geese, coots, pelicans, cormorants and lots of other wonderful wildlife. My bird book is always open on the coffee table and I am becoming quite familiar with our local water birds. But a pink egret? I am so happy to learn my eyes did not deceive me – I really saw one. Hope he returns for the abundant fishing.
Welcome, Daphne! Are you certain it was not a roseate spoonbill you were viewing?
I found your website while searching for pink egrets. I live in port st. Lucie, fl.and back up to a small canal bordering on a Savanna Preserve. Last year I kept seeing a single pink bird resembling an egret in flight and just last week I saw several fly by, and in flight they are a pastel pink. Needless to say, I am very eager to learn more about these beautiful pink birds.
I would appreciate any up to date info you might have.
Lorraine, I replied to you in an email. This is most likely a fluke, this bird here, but what you are seeing are most likely Roseate Spoonsbills. Gooogle them and see if that is what you are seeing flying overhead! They are one of my very favorite wading birds! I love to watch them feed and enjoy their brilliant colors in flight!
Today, while on the Stono River in Charleston, South Carolina, I spotted 3 beautiful pink birds. They look like egrets. Of course when our boat went by them they flew away but I have gorgeous photos of the three in flight. Wish I could post the pictures here!
You may be able to, but I’m not sure. However, they were probably Roseate Spoonbills, which are one of my favorites! Thanks for sharing!
My husband and I saw what looked like a pink egret behind our house on Lake D’arbonne in Downsville, LA yesterday! It was the only pink one among lots of white ones. We looked at it thru binoculars . Couldn’t get close enough for a picture.
Saw one in Madison Florida, back in 2001, only one I’ve ever seen, pink legs and all. And we have a pile of ’em down here.
I saw one of these today in the Clear Lake TX area on my Kayak! AMAZING looking bird
I live in a neighborhood along the Tampa Bay near Weeden Island. I watched (and photographed) the exact same looking bird in a pond around the corner from my house this morning! It was NOT a spoonbill because it had the pointed beak of an egret. Fluffy wings and large wingspan (it flew right over me). It has the look of an egret but is pink. Stunning!!! I saw ANOTHER ONE a few hours later in a canal near Fossil Park. I’ve also seen one flying around Coffee Pot Bayou and Snell Island on two separate days last week. I am obsessed with this beautiful bird!!
Hi Julie. It would be great to see a photo, even if you email it to me. Would you?
I see this was 2012.Today’s 5/14/17.Celebrating Mom’s Day at his camp in Bobby Lynn’s Marina,my boyfrd took me & his un.Raymond Billiot (yep lol) out fr:Leeville Bayou Lafourche to what they called Shell Mound.Map shows Philo Brice Islands.Hundreds of Pelicans nest.While taking photos 2 flew in,landed & did just fine.These however,look much diff.fr:those posted on your site.They’re much taller & Pinker.We’ve seen them be fore in the Bayou,again only 2 .I Call them Flamingo Cranes lol These looked to me like Pink Herons.Thanks for the info.Enjoyed it.
i might have an idea on why its this pink… first of all.. if you look at the head and wings it looks like it has the mating season colors. so that would intensify the colors. i also think this might have been a captive cattle egret that has been kept with flamingo’s or rossiat spoonbills or scarlet ibis this because of the added amount of vitamin A en Carotheen would give it or intensify the red coloring. this could also be caused by certain algea… the way and places the feather are colored seem to euhm Symetrical. Anyway i hope you find an answer sooner then later. it surely is a magnificent animal
There may not be shrimp in the area, but blue-green algae contain carotenoids which cause the pink color.
Very interesting and thanks!
I found this thread as I immediately googled “Pink Egret” as my husband & I are traveling home on I-10 East around Iowa, LA & saw a flock of these in a pasture. We couldn’t believe our eyes. I wish I would’ve had my camera ready.
What you most likely saw was a flock of roseate spoonbills!
You mentioned in May 2012, “They come here in the winter and hang out.” This is August.
Hi T. If you look back at that comment, I was referring to the link she posted. Where I live, down near the coast, we see roseate spoonbills in the winter—not much the rest of the year. Maybe you did see a flock of pink egrets . . . and I wish too that you would have been able to take a photo!!!!
There is one Pink Cattle Egret appears in Singapore now.
Hello, My name is J. Lewis. I post shots on “National Geographic YourShot”. I was replying to a friend’s shot of the “Pink Egret” which I have never seen, and came across you posting. Thought you might be interested in seeing his shot. His shot was taken in Singapore.
Thanks, J Lewis, for sharing link to photo of pink egret. What magnificent coloring on this bird! I’ve never seen one in the wild myself, but I hope to one day! Thanks again for stopping by! BW
I recently saw at 2 different times a pink what I thought was an egret because he was with other white ones. Here in Florida.
Cool! It would be great if you could photo them with a zoom lens to see what they are!!!
My sister just had a home built in The Reserve of Clear Lake in Houston. She has a beautiful home with a fabulous view of a bird reserve and water. As I was sitting on her balcony one evening, a beautiful pink bird flew by. Pink is one of my favorite colors. Needless to say, I screamed with glee! When I told her that I thought it was a pink egret, she did not believe me. A week went by and there was no pink bird. As we were enjoying a lovely sunset, God sent not one, but two pink beauties! I was validated!! Since that first siting, there are now three of them. They are truly a joy to behold, especially when they fly low and close to the house! I believe my blood pressure immediately goes down. And, for that, I am truly thankful!!
Hello A De’Ann and welcome to the bayou! Well, no doubt you did see beautiful pink birds, but most likely, they were “Roseate Spoonbills” as pink egrets are a rare thing to see. Roseates are just as brilliant and gorgeous to behold! So glad they brought you such joy and centered you! And thanks for stopping by! BW
I live in ascension parish. We were sitting on the porch after a rain. There were some egrets feeding, when we saw one flying off and it was pink!
We were saying that we had never seen that, it came flying back with three others, heading south!!
We’re a beautiful rose color! We are about 45 minutes south of New Orleans!
Hi Corinne and thanks for the comment. You most likely saw Roseate Spoonsbills, which are common to south La. and are also a brilliant bright pink, especially during breeding season, which is what you would have seen. They are often found feeding in flooded lots/fields alongside herons and egrets! So glad you got to see them. They are one of my favorites!! BW
Whoops–the birds on PBS Rivers of Life, The Mississippi seem to be cattle egrets and these egrets do have reddish/orange markings.
I just saw a pink egret on the PBS Great Rivers show on the Mississippi. I think it was in Louisiana. There was also a Reddish Egret featured–showing it’s fishing dance but the pink egret was a separate bird. (The pink bird was definitely not a Roseate Spoonbill)
What does cause the pink color?
We are in Bossier City, La and I saw my first pale pink egrets today intermingled with the whites. We’ see them all the time especially while the hay was harvested recently. There is shallow water along Airline at Deans Point/Kingston Rds and that’s where we saw them. I’ll try to get a picture if they are there tomorrow.
Hi Beverly and thanks so much for the photos you emailed me!
These pictures were sent me as an ornithologist. Your bird is definitely a Cattle Egret, not any hybrid with spoonbills or whatever. I have been studying birds my entire life, raised by an ornithologist, and occasionally I see a bird whose color or pattern is unusual. Obviously, that is the case here. Most odd coloration is caused by too heavy (or too light) a dose of certain pigments. In this bird’s case, it got a sh**load of carotene, which likely disappears in fall when the species takes on winter plumage for six months. Whether it returns to this plumage next year is anybody’s guess.
Hi Jim and thank you for the information. BW