The Pacific Reef Egret (Egretta sacra), also known as Eastern Reef-egret, is an uncommon resident in Singapore. It has been spotted on and off in storm canals, rivers, mangroves, etc. over the past years.
On 31st August the egret was again spotted foraging in a canal and photographed by Mark Chua. This egret is polymorphic, with white and dark grey morphs. The bird spotted is obviously a dark grey morph.
It feeds alone or in pairs, by day or night depending on the tide. Its food is mainly crabs and fish, less often molluscs, insects and lizards. It has also been reported to take tern chicks or force adult terns to regurgitate prey (Martinez-Vilalta & Motis, 1992).
There were a few unconfirmed reports of breeding over the past years. The only confirmed sighting of breeding was on 26th April 1998 at the Anak Bukom heronry (Wells, 2007).
1. Martinez-Vilalta, A. & A. Motis, 1992. Family Ardeidae (Herons)]. In del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 1. Ostrich to ducks. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 376-429.
2. Wells, D.R. (2007). The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London.