What, one might ask, is a wading bird? This term is used to describe a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors but all have some key characteristics in common.
First, they have long, thin legs and agile toes that help them navigate and maintain stability while foraging in the muddier waters and flowing currents.
Second, they often have long bills with varying specialized shapes (ex. roseate spoonbill vs. white ibis) for different foraging strategies.
Third, the necks of wading birds are typically long but powerful. A minute shift in their posture can improve angle, view, and camouflage when searching for prey.
And finally, the larger wading birds (ex. great egrets, great blue herons) typically develop beautiful plumes during breeding season while smaller wading birds (ex. green heron) become even more cryptically colored.
All of these fabulous animals rely on wetlands for foraging, breeding, roosting, or some other part of their ecology.
Corkscrew is home to 17 species of wading birds, and these can be broken down into even smaller categories.
- Herons - Great blue heron, little blue heron, green heron, tri-colored heron, black-crowned night heron, and yellow-crowned night heron
- Egrets - Great egret, snowy egret, cattle egret
- Ibis - White ibis, Glossy ibis
- Other species - American bittern, least bittern, wood stork, roseate spoonbill, limpkin and sandhill crane