Date: 10/7/17 7:33 pm From: roger freeman <carrotguy55...> Subject: [obol] "Snowy Hegret" and intergeneric hybridization
This "hegret" puzzle has been quite interesting to follow. The recent photos shared, provide excellent views of this individual.
The mention of possible hybridization between different GENERA in the wild .... Bubulcus (Cattle Egret) and Egretta (Little Blue Heron) raises the degree of difficulty/rarity for this case. Molecular analysis tools are providing more reliable evidence to support such speculation. Sheep x goats would be an example of this degree of hybridization.
As has been discussed in previous OBOL threads, taxonomic classification of species is a loose, challenging and somewhat arbitrary science. It is possible that Cattle Egrets could some day be grouped into the same genus as other Egrets. Then, at least on paper, we have a more credible inter-specific cross.
Genomics and molecular analysis will continue to shine more light into taxonomic classification. Looking forward to that.
> I asked experts back east what they thought of the odd heron. Michael > O'Brien of Cape May/VENT guide/author and one of the best birders on the > country (IMHO) said his best take was Cattle Egret x Little Blue hybrid, > but didn't know for sure and that the it was a very bizarre bird. There > is a reason it has been such a difficult bird to identify. > > The bill is too thick for a Snowy. The bill being yellow points away from > Snowy and is shaped more like a Cattle Egret. The blue in the plumage > indicates Little Blue is in there somewhere. The leg color is OK for a > little Blue, too, from looking online at a variety of young Little Blues. > > We will probably never know what it's true heritage is but it doesn't look > like a Snowy Egret or other pure species. > > Best regards, > Shawneen Finnegan > > Sent from my iPhone > > On Oct 6, 2017, at 9:41 PM, Janet and Phil Lamberson < > <pjlamberson...> wrote: > > Several more photos of the weird snowy-blue hegret taken 9/25 at the > Malheur Narrows - dark shading in primaries, secondaries and possibly on > back and along back of neck. One photo shows outstretched wing. I know - > it's old news, but I just uploaded my photos. > > https://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39396264 > >