Cairns to Cape Tribulation

Information for Eastern reef egret - Egretta sacra

Eukaryota >Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Pelecaniformes > Ardeidae > Egretta > Egretta sacra

Eastern reef egret
Egretta sacra

Interestingly, this species can either be white, or grey.

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Eastern reef egret - Egretta sacra (grey morph) feeding at the edge of mangroves in the Dickson Inlet, Port Douglas. - Photo by Alex Pawlow

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It is not known what determines the morph (colour variation) although some theories involve camouflage. Studies have shown that the white morph feeds more in breaking surf, where as the grey morph fed more by hunting on reef flats. The white morph is also more common around coral reefs, where broken coral makes the beaches whiter.

Also known as the Pacific reef heron or Eastern reef heron grow to around 55-60cm and feed on fish, crustaceand and molluscs.

They actively feed in the shallows along the coast between Cairns and Cape Tribulation.

The operator of Bush and Boat Kayak Tours reports regularly seeing a white and grey morph that appeared to be paired just south of Port Douglas at Oak Beach.