Reddish Egret, Dichromanassa rufescens
Print size: 26 1/4" x 39 1/4"; image size: 34 1/2" x 24 1/2"
Princeton Audubon Limited Edition - produced 1985
Audubon drew both the birds and the background in Florida in April 1832. When he first saw them in the Keys, he puzzled at their coloration: "Some of them were as white as driven snow, the rest of a delicate purplish tint, inclining to grey on the back and wings, with heads and necks of a curious reddish colour. Males and females there were, but they were all of one species..." He concluded that those with white plumage were immature birds. He was incorrect, since in this species, coloring depends on the individual and has no relation to either age or sex. It is dimorphic and displays two color phases, one white, the other purplish blue. The birds illustrated here are both adults.
The reddish egret inhabits shallow, open salt pans. When wading, it often rakes the bottom with one foot to stir up the prey and when pursuing fish, it has a habit of spreading its wings in a canopy, then running, hopping and cavorting in a curious dance.
Princeton Audubon prints are direct-camera facsimile lithographs of the Robert Havell Jr. (1793-1878) engravings for The Birds of America (1827-38). Princeton's Double elephant Folio prints are issued in limited editions of 500 or 1500 prints. All are numbered and have a seal in the bottom margin to demonstrate their authenticity.
Printed on heavy Mohawk paper that is recommended by the Library of Congress for archives, the paper is specially toned to match the average paper color of the antique originals.