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Herons, Pelicans, Ibis, Storks and their Allies Photographed in Wetland and Coastal Habitat

Images on this webpage and associated subpages feature birds I’ve photographed in wetland and coastal habitats such as lakes, rivers, swamps, mudflats and shoreline. The images include storks, ibises, herons, egrets, bitterns, pelicans, cormorants, shags, anhingas and flamingos. These are cosmopolitan birds found in all regions except the Antarctic although each family may comprise different genera, species and subspecies that inhabit only part of a region or ecozone.

The breakup of traditional classifications of birds has moved herons (Ardeidae family), ibises (Threskiornithidae family) and some other families to join pelicans (Pelecanidae family) the Pelecaniformes order leaving only storks in Ciconiiformes (Ciconiidae family). Under the Pelecaniformes change, a new order; Suliformes has been created, which includes anhingas, cormorants and shags. For convenience I've included flamingos from Phoenicopteriformes order in this habitat grouping.

Heron, Egret and Bittern

The herons, egrets and bitterns were photographed in Singapore, the Seychelles, New Zealand and Trinidad. It includes nine species of heron, albeit one of these is a variant being a possible cross between a striated and green heron. There are nine species of egret and two species of bittern. Green herons are rare visitors to Trinidad however; at La Vaga Estate Lakes, I photographed several variant striated-green herons and a green.

The heron family of birds range from medium to large and have long legs and necks relative to their bodies. Their toes are particularly long helping them wade in mudflats or support on vegetation. They prey on most aquatic food such as fish crustaceans, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Some species are specialist hunters while others feed on a variety of animals and are often opportunists.

Image Highlights of Herons and their Allies, Pelecaniformes order

Ardeidae (Heron) family


Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes) [VU]

Eastern-great Egret (Ardea alba modesta)

Great White Egret (Ardea alba)

Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia)

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae)


Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)

Schrenck's Bittern (Ixobrychus eurhythmus)


Great Blue Heron (Ardea Herodias)

Great-billed Heron (Ardea sumatrana)

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) possibly a variant (Striated x Green)

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea cinerea) and (A.c. jouyi)

Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)

Striated Heron (Butorides striata)

Striated Heron (Butorides striata javanica) and (B.s. degens)

Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)

Pelicans, Ibis, Storks and Flamingos

I photographed ibises and pelicans in Australia and Trinidad, storks in Singapore, the royal spoonbill in New Zealand and flamingos in France.

Featured images of very large birds include: (a) pelicans that feed by hunting fish and amphibians diving into the sea or inland lakes to capture their prey; (b) storks that feed on small fish in shallow water using an open bill side to side sweeping technique to sense the fish; and (c) great flamingos filter-feeds brine shrimp and algae from silt and mud. Images of medium to large featured birds include: (a) ibises that feed in shallow water on aquatic invertebrates, fish and terrestrial creatures on land such as worms and insects and (b) spoonbills that feed in the same way as storks.

Image Highlights of Pelicans, Ibis, Storks and Flamingos

Pelecaniformes order

Threskiornithidae (Ibises) family

Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis moluccus)

Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)

Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia)

Pelecanidae (Pelicans) family

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Ciconiiformes order, Ciconiidae (Storks) family

Painted stork (Mycteria leucocephala) [NT]

Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea) [EN]

Phoenicopteriformes order,

Phoenicopteridae (Flamingo) family

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

Anhingas, Cormorants and Shags

I photographed the anhinga in Trinidad and the corroborants and shags in Australia and New Zealand. The anhinga are the largest of these medium to large birds and feeds by swimming partially submerged in the water and dives for fish and amphibians. The cormorants and shags feed by diving into inland lakes, rivers or coastal sea waters feeing on fish.

Image Highlights of Anhinga, Cormorants and Shags

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags) family

Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)

Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos)

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Great Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius)

Spotted Shag (Stictocarbo punctatus)

Stewart Shag (Phalacrocorax chalconotus) [VU]

Suliformes order

Anhingidae (Anhinga) family

Anhinga (Anhinga Anhinga)

Bird taxonomy

Seems to be a moving feast and a coherent approach to identification and classification is difficult. The resources I use for include several authoritative websites and databases; these as referenced in taxonomic classification section on my wildlife web page.


IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature

IUCN Red List Category: [EN] Endangered, [VU] Vulnerable, [NT] Near Threatened.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), with fish, Singapore Eastern Great Egret, Firth of Thames East Coast, New Zealand Grey Heron, catching fish, Japanese Garden, Jurong, Singapore White Faced Heron, Pilots Beach, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand Schrenck's Bittern (Ixobrychus eurhythmus), Sungei Buloh, Singapore, 2015 Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), Orange Valley Mudflats, Trinidad, 2015 Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea), La Vaga Lakes, Trinidad, 2015 Striated Heron, on seashore with fish, Seychelles Heron on Shoreline at Anse Petit Police Bay, Seychelles Yellow Bittern, with fish, Botanic Gardens, Singapore Green Heron (Butorides virescens) possibly a variant (Striated x Green), La Vaga Lakes, Trinidad, 2015 Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea), Caroni Swamp, Trinidad, 2105 Purple Heron, speared fish with lower mandible, Singapore Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), La Vaga Lakes, Trinidad, 2015 Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia), Sungei Buloh, Singapore, 2015 Striated Heron (Butorides striata javanica), with fish, Japanese Garden, Jurong, Singapore, 2015 Great Blue Heron (Ardea Herodias), Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada, 2008 Great White Egret (Ardea alba), Breeding Plumage, Okarito Wetland, New Zealand's West Coast, 2015 Great-billed Heron (Ardea sumatrana), Sungei Buloh, Singapore, 2015 Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes), Sungei Buloh, Singapore, 2015 Painted stork (Mycteria leucocephala), Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore, 2015 Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia), Tahakopa River and Scenic Reserve, New Zealand, 2015 Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber), Orange Valley Mudflats, Trinidad, 2105 Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Australia, 2013. Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), Camargue, France, 1997 Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), flying, Grande Riviere, Trinidad, 2015 Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis moluccus), Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens, New South Wales, Australia, 2013 Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea), Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore, 2015 Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), La Vaga, Trinidad, 2015 Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris), Lakes, Entrance, Gippsland, Australia, 2013 Great Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius), Kaikoura Peninsula, New Zealand, 2015 Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos), Lakes, Entrance, Gippsland, Australia, 2013 Stewart Shag (Phalacrocorax chalconotus), Breeding Colony, Taiaroa Head, Otago, New Zealand, 2015 Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo), Point Addis, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia, 2013 Spotted Shag (Stictocarbo punctatus), Taiaroa Head, Otago, New Zealand, 2015


Hyperlink image showing Grey Heron Simgapore Hyperlink image showing Little Egret Simgapore Hyperlink image showingPainted storks Singapore