Posts Tagged ‘genetic variant’

Here is another image of the heron I photographed in Cuba back in February. I have no definite answers to this riddle, but thanks to several folks some conclusions can be drawn to this mystery. While this heron does resemble a Lava Heron from the Galapagos, it is not. Lava Herons have larger bills and feet and stout legs. This heron is identical in size to Green Herons. Even its call is the same. Many folks suggested that this was a melanistic form of the Green Heron, however, two birds of identical plumage were foraging at the pond where I photographed them. One of the birds, maybe both, can’t say for certain, had a pure white feather on one wing.

Fellow Canadian photographers Mike Grandmaison and Dennis Fast suggested a melanistic color morph of the Green Heron. Famous bird photographer Arthur Morris identifies this bird as a melanistic Green Heron or a genetic variant of one. As the days went by, eventually David Gancarz, a member at www.birdphotographers.net forwarded an email from Dr. James Kushlan with the IUCN Heron Specialist Group who became aware of this odd colored heron and was rather intrigued by it. Since two birds of identical plumage were seen, Dr. Kushlan has suggested that it is most likely a genetic variant of the Green Heron.

Hope you enjoy the photo.

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