The duo tone of Pacific Reef Egret
It was a good morning today. Actually, a really good morning, as we found three new bird species on the northern shoreline of Bintan. One of them are these Pacific Reef Egrets, Egretta sacra (or Kuntul Karang in Indonesian), were spotted only 5 minutes after we departed our Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal for our routine turtle and (our newly developed) migratory birds survey.
The plumage polymorphism is a known variation in herons, including this species. Some scientists observed that different colour show different feeding habits. In a few places in Australia, the white ones (white phase) sought prey by a flight, land, and freeze hunting style in breaking surf, while dark birds (dark phase) pursued prey by actively walking or running on reef flats. We are yet to see this interesting foraging behavior in Bintan.
Pacific Reef Egrets are sedentary animals, they do not migrate. The are widespread in Korea, Japan, China, all the way down through Southeast Asia to Australia and New Zealand.
The tide was almost at its peak when we departed, and 1 hour from falling down. It is possible that they were waiting for low tide to start enjoying seafood.
[Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF 70-200 f/4L IS @191mm, f/7.1, 1/4000sec, ISO 640]