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Pictorial Gallery of the Wading Birds of Montana

A lot is written about the big mammals of Montana. That is rightfully so since there are more than a million large mammals living in the state. However, there are also a large number of birds in Montana, too. The following are pictures of just one group of birds that are found in Montana; the wading birds.

Cattle Egret

The cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) isn't only found next to water, it is terrestrial, too. It is often found in fields near grazing animals. It is also white, like the snowy egret, but is smaller and has yellow legs. It has buff-brown on the crest and chest during the breeding season, which the snowy egret lacks. It is also smaller than the snowy egret. Cattle egrets are in a different genus than snowy egrets.

Great Blue Heron

Blue herons are the largest species of herons in North America. They can weigh up to five and a half pounds. Although they are migratory, they can be found in Montana all year long. The name is a misnomer because these birds are gray. They also have white, black, and brown on the face. 

Green Heron

Green herons (Butorides virescens)  aren't true residents of Montana. Rather, they are migratory and are occasional visitors, like many of the people who come to visit the state. This is a small bird, rarely more than 17 inches long, but it is quite colorful, with gray, white, chestnut, black, and green or blue feathers.

Great Egret

The great egret is another white wading bird, but it has black legs and it is large. This bird has a wingspan of a little less than four and a half feet. This is a migratory bird that doesn't linger for long.

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned night herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) are migratory wading birds that are often seen throughout Montana during the summer. They are medium-sized wading birds that prefer bulrushes/cattails, but they are often found elsewhere. The color is light gray with black on the head, back, and with black bills. Adults have red eyes.


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Written by Rex Trulove

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