Two species of Cattle Egrets?

The 2023 Clements/eBird taxonomy update has just been announced, and the biggest surprise is that Cattle Egret will now be considered two species! Few people are familiar with variation in Cattle Egret, and while the split won’t have much impact on North American birders I thought it would be helpful to describe the differences. At least you will understand what it means when your eBird list says “Western Cattle Egret”.

I’ve put together a one-page summary of the differences, shown here and also available below as a downloadable pdf file:

1 thought on “Two species of Cattle Egrets?”

  1. Fennimore Patrick

    I live in northwest Florida and I have a sister who moved to Australia 🇦🇺 30 years ago. We exchange photographs of birds and recently she sent me a picture of a (eastern) cattle egret. In identifying it, I discovered that it was a separate species ( thanks to Sibley’s!).
    What a wonderful (and prolific) bird!
    Thanks to Sibleys for helping me to realize what my sister and I shared.

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