Posts Tagged ‘green herons’

As readers of this blog will remember, about a year and half ago I had the pleasure of photographing an unusually colored heron in Cuba’s Jardines del rey archipelago, an UNESCO World Biosphere, on the island of Cayo Santa Maria. My photos of this odd looking heron eventually made their way to Dr. James Kushlan of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Heron Specialist Group. It is believed that this heron  is either a melanistic or genetic variant of the Green Heron and is most likely the first record for such plumage in this species.

Below you will see the JPEG version from the latest issue of Conservator, a beautiful magazine that is published by Ducks Unlimited Canada  and sent out to those that hold a membership with Ducks Unlimited Canada. The most recent issue of the magazine began hitting the doorsteps of DUC members this week and features an InfoGraphic on my Melanistic Green Heron that I photographed in Cuba. The inset image shows a normally plumaged Green Heron that was also photogaphed in Cuba.

Please take a moment to check out the Ducks Unlimited Canada website particularly the page that celebrates their 75 Years of Conservation Excellence.  DUC has conserved 6.3 million acres and has completed 9,000 projects all aimed at conservation. That folks is an amazing track record don’t you think!

To see a larger version of this excerpt from the magazine do remember to click on the image.


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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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