Wading Birds

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary provides ideal habitat for numerous wading bird species.

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

Great Blue Heron

Latin:  Ardea herodias

Illustration for Great Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron

Latin:  Egretta caerulea

Illustration for Little Blue Heron

Green Heron

Latin:  Butorides virescens

Illustration for Green Heron

Tricolored Heron

Latin:  Egretta tricolor

Illustration for Tricolored Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Latin:  Nycticorax nycticorax

Illustration for Black-crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Latin:  Nyctanassa violacea

Illustration for Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Great Egret

Latin:  Ardea alba

Illustration for Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Latin:  Egretta thula

Illustration for Snowy Egret

Cattle Egret

Latin:  Bubulcus ibis

Illustration for Cattle Egret

White Ibis

Latin:  Eudocimus albus

Illustration for White Ibis

Glossy Ibis

Latin:  Plegadis falcinellus

Illustration for Glossy Ibis

American Bittern

Latin:  Botaurus lentiginosus

Illustration for American Bittern

Least Bittern

Latin:  Ixobrychus exilis

Illustration for Least Bittern

Wood Stork

Latin:  Mycteria americana

Illustration for Wood Stork

Roseate Spoonbill

Latin:  Platalea ajaja

Illustration for Roseate Spoonbill


Latin:  Aramus guarauna

Illustration for Limpkin

Sandhill Crane

Latin:  Antigone canadensis

Illustration for Sandhill Crane

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