Western Reef-egret Egretta gularis


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Trend justification
The overall population trend is stable, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).


Behaviour There is little known about the movements of this species (Hancock and Kushlan 1984, Kushlan and Hancock 2005), although it apparently disperses widely (Hancock and Kushlan 1984, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kushlan and Hancock 2005) and may be partially migratory (Hancock and Kushlan 1984, Kushlan and Hancock 2005). It breeds between April and July or in October (del Hoyo et al. 1992) in solitary pairs, or more usually in small colonies of around 12 pairs (sometimes up to 100) (Brown et al. 1982). When not breeding the species is a solitary feeder, although it is occasionally found in small groups (Brown et al. 1982). It feeds diurnally, but also at night depending on the tides, and roosts at night in large numbers of between 500 and 1,000, in mangroves or on rocky cliffs and islets (Brown et al. 1982). Habitat The species shows a preference for rocky or sandy shores and reefs (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kushlan and Hancock 2005), but will also frequent other coastal habitats such as estuaries, mudflats, saltmarshes, mangroves, tidal creeks (Brown et al. 1982, del Hoyo et al. 1992) and lagoons (Brown et al. 1982). Diet The diet of this species consists mainly of fish, crustaceans and molluscs, but crickets, grubs and earthworms are also taken (Brown et al. 1982). Breeding site The species nests in solitary pairs or small colonies on the ground, or in reedbeds, bushes and mangrove trees up to 20 m high, as well as on ledges or boulders (del Hoyo et al. 1992), the nest being a platform of twigs and seaweed (Brown et al. 1982).


This species wasseriously persecuted and hunted for the plume trade in the past, but has since recovered (del Hoyo et al. 1992).


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Egretta gularis. Downloaded from on 23/09/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/09/2019.