The Purple Heron or Reddish Egret
Princeton Audubon Double Elephant Edition •Double elephant (life size - 26 1/4 x 39 1/4) •Limited edition of 1500. •Pencil-numbered and embossed with the Princeton Audubon Limited seal. •Up to 11 color plates used. •Specially developed fade-proof inks. Absolute color fidelity to the actual original. •Printed on a 300 line. •Very heavy archival paper which is recommended by the Library of Congress for archives and is specially toned to match the actual color of the antique originals. •Registered to purchaser. •As permanently displayed at The Royal Society of London, to which Audubon belonged as a Fellow.
About the image itself ...
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.