Marsh Bird With Long Legs

There are many different types of birds out there, ones with long beaks, long-tail feathers, mohawks, and more, but what about ones with seriously long legs?

There is nothing quite as beautiful or joyous as a tall bird with long legs standing in the marsh.

Marsh Bird With Long Legs

Long-legged birds such as cranes stand on their long legs which serve as stilts in aquatic habitats such as the Marsh but cranes are not the only species.

There are plenty more birds with long legs that you can find in marshes and swamp lands and this article takes a closer look.

They are not only known for their legs and their length but a lot of them are known for playing a vital role in fragile swamp and marsh ecosystems, as well as their special foraging techniques.

You will often find them standing tall in the marsh, looking around at their environment, or searching for prey. Let’s jump in.

Great Egret

Great Egret

First on our list of long-legged birds is the Great Egret. The Great Egret is around 2.6-3.4 feet in length and can weigh up to 3.3 pounds.

It has very bright and bold yellow eyes and beautiful white plumage.

In their mating season, they have stunning feather plumes and these extend back across their tail. They show these off to impress and find a mate.

They can be found all over the country and breed throughout the US, however, they like salt and fresh marshes, as well as marshy ponds and tidal flats along the Atlantic coastline.

They have very long and distinguishable legs which allow them to stand high in shallow water when looking for prey.

It also has a retracted neck, which makes it different from other species of heron.

It has a direct flight and this means it flies in a straight path, flapping their wings and relying on its large wings to take off.

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Another of the same species, the Cattle Egret is commonly found in the marshes, but also pastures, meadows, flood plains, and swamps.

They originate from Africa and spread in the 19th century, which means you can now find them in North and South America, as well as Europe, Asia, Australia, and of course, Africa.

They are the only white egret with a yellow bill and legs of the same color.

The Cattle Egret uses their long legs to observe the environment around them whilst also catching flying insects.

It mostly feeds on water insects such as dragonflies but will also swallow amphibians and snakes. This is very common in the heron species.

They have adapted to human activities and will sometimes congregate by airport runways.

They do this to wait for the airplanes to take off and blow insects from the grass. When they are near humans, it is estimated they can gather 50% more food.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

The Snowy Egret can weigh up to 11 ounces and measure up to 12 inches. They are Tricolored and breed in southeastern New Mexico as well as Texas.

They like to reside along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, all the way to Maine. They spend most of their winter in northern South America and sometimes the West Indies.

Snowy Egrets like to use their long stilt-like legs to fish in the salt marshes or other coastal ponds, swamps, mudflats, lagoons, and mangrove islands.

It is the only dark-colored heron with a white belly and this helps bird watchers easily identify them.

They used to be known as the Louisiana Heron until the chagrin of many different Louisianan ornithologists changed its name.

Whooping Crane

Whooping Crane

The whooping crane is around 5.2 feet and weighs up 19 pounds which makes it a very large bird on the list!

It was once spread across North America, from Utah to New England, but there is now only a single wild population that moves between the breeding grounds in the north of Canada and the wintering ground on the coast in Texas.

The bird loves to spread their wings in the marshes and ponds and will eat anything they find such as mollusks, small mammals, fish, frogs, and crustaceans.

It will use its long legs to spot and grab anything it can get its hands on to eat.

They are the tallest bird in North America but their main cause of death across the country is adult cranes colliding with power lines in the migration process.

However, whooping cranes often lay two eggs and choose only one chick to raise.

This means it is easy for local biologists to remove and incubate the eggs to increase their declining population.

White-Faced Ibis

White-Faced Ibis

This long-legged bird breeds from Oregon to Minnesota in North America, but live down south in Texas and New Mexico too.

They like to spend their winters down south in California and Louisiana and they love the coastal marshes which are warmer down in these parts of the country.

They like to eat any small invertebrates they find, as well as fish and frogs and they have some of the thickest legs out of all the marsh birds on this list.

The biggest White-Faced Ibis colony around the world is found in the Great Salt Lake marshes in Utah, yet the populations of white-faced ibises are decreasing due to local threats such as wetland drainage and the rise in people using pesticides across the country.

Final Thoughts

We hope you have enjoyed this article on marsh birds with long legs and next time you are near the marshes, you can keep your eye out for a few yourself.

They are spectacular birds and are worth a bird-watching trip if you are in the area.

You will often find these birds standing tall with their long legs in the marsh, looking for prey or observing their habitat, a true spectacle.

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