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The Lure of Bird Lores

An avian field mark that warrants special attention this time of year is the color of a bird’s lores — the area between a bird’s eye and bill on both sides of its head.  In some birds, especially wading birds, lores change color quite dramatically during the breeding season. 

Because birds can see blue, green and red (like humans) as well as UV light, and because the change takes place just as the breeding season begins for birds, the change in lore color, often to a more vibrant hue, is thought to play a part in attracting a mate.  (The bills, legs and feet of some birds also change color at this time.)

At the height of the breeding season, Great Egret lores go from yellow to an emerald green.  Green Heron lores turn from a yellowish-green to a bluish-black.  Snowy Egrets (pictured) lores become bright pink.  This happens to both sexes ever year. 

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5 responses

  1. Alice

    Very attractive! What a beak…handy for stabbing a fish. Birds are amazing.

    May 21, 2021 at 8:39 am

  2. Bill on the Hill

    As a child, perhaps 9 or 10 years of age I saw one of these magnificent birds growing up in N. Haven CT at a place called Cooper’s Pond, now gone & replaced with a Blue/Cross Blue Shield Anthem building with huge parking lots. I was awestruck by the size of this bird & it’s long wingspan during flight. To this date, now I’m 67 years old & I have not seen this bird in the wild ever since that magical moment in time back in the early ’60’s…This location had a haunted house too, known as old man Coopers place, that too sadly has been long gone now for quite some time…
    Beautiful photograph Mary,
    Bill… :~)

    May 21, 2021 at 8:50 am

    • Alice

      I’ve seen Snowy Egrets at Burrage Pond…a Fish & Wildlife area…near Hanson & Pembroke MA (about 7 miles from here), & a Green Heron, Blue Herons, Osprey, Swans, American Kestrel, etc.

      May 21, 2021 at 10:34 am

  3. I had never heard that word: lores. Very interesting. And what a stunning photo!

    May 21, 2021 at 9:17 am

  4. That is a stunningly beautiful photo, interesting! I also learned a new word and location on birds I never knew before! Thank you! 🙂 ❤

    May 22, 2021 at 2:40 am

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