Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club         Southeastern Caribbean Bird Alert         Trinidad and Tobago Rare Bird Committee
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Is this bird melanistic? Or is it dyed / stained and moulting new white feathers? Adult at Graeme Hall Swamp, Christ Church, Barbados, 19 September 2002. Photos © by Martin Frost. In the Birds of North America account (no. 113, 1994), R. C. Telfair II wrote (p. 25): “Melanistic birds recorded in s. Africa, Florida and Illinois (Middlemiss 1953, Broekhuysen 1959, Bigalke 1964, Peterjohn 1987), the Illinois bird with normal leg and bill color. However, none of these sight records verified by photos or specimens. Some may have been dyed by researchers or stained by excrement while roosting below other birds (RCT). Others reported to have acquired dark colors from contact with crude oil sprayed on Florida citrus groves to prevent frost damage (Siegfried 1971f).” For comments on this bird, click here.