The Little Egret Egretta garzetta is widespread across Eurasia, Africa and Australasia. Global subspecific taxonomy has been problematic and remains somewhat unresolved. Marchant and Higgins recognised two subspecies: the nominate E. g. garzetta (widespread in Eurasia east to Japan, and Africa) and E. g. nigripes (range encompassing parts of Indonesia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Australia and occasionally New Zealand), although they note that ‘the subspecific status of Australasian birds still requires further study’. Other sources recognise additional subspecies.
In this paper we acknowledge three subspecies (E. g. garzetta in Eurasia, eastern and southern Africa; E. g. nigripes in eastern Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and northern and eastern Australia; and E. g. dimorpha in Madagascar and the Seychelles [including Aldabra atoll]), but acknowledge that other sources consider the Australian population to be an additional, distinct subspecies (E. g. immaculata).