|Copyright: Claus Hauer (claushauer) (20)|
|Date Taken: 2008-12-21|
|Exposure: f/7.1, 1/400 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2008-12-27 18:58|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note [Spanish]|
Snowy Egret, Egretta thula. Note the chicks in the nest.
About 17, see text
The herons are wading birds in the Ardeidae family. Some are called egrets or bitterns instead of herons. Within the family, all members of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus are referred to as bitterns, and - including the Zigzag Heron or Zigzag Bittern - are a monophyletic group within the Ardeidae. However, egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons, and tend to be named differently because they are mainly white and/or have decorative plumes, and while having the same build as the larger herons tend to be smaller.
The classification of the individual heron/egret species is fraught with difficulty, and there is still no clear consensus about the correct placement of many species into either of the two major genera, Ardea and Egretta. Similarly, the relationship of the genera in the family is not completely resolved. However, one species formerly considered to constitute a separate monotypic family Cochlearidae, the Boat-billed Heron, is now regarded as a member of the Ardeidae
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