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5

Great [White] Egret

(Ardea alba)
Alternate name(s): "Egret*", "Large Egret", "White Egret", "Eastern Great Egret", "White Crane*"
German name(s): "Silberreiher"

Size: 0.85-1.05 m; wing span 1.45-1.70 m
Weight: 0.7-1.5 kg (1.0 kg average)

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Great Egret at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "alba"

ADULT

Sex unknown

BREEDING

Lateral view of three Great [White] Egrets, one of which in breeding plumage, with a dark bill, while the others are in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Jelonki, Masovia, Poland, July 2016]

NON-BREEDING

Frontal view of a Great [White] Egret in non-breeding plumage; note the yellow-orange bill
(photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Santa Justa, Coruche, Portugal, January 2018]

Lateral view of a Great [White] Egret in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Santa Justa, Coruche, Portugal, January 2018]

Lateral view of a Great [White] Egret in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, January 2018]

Near-dorsal view of a Great [White] Egret in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Near Jelonki, Masovia, Poland, August 2016]

Great [White] Egrets in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Montargil, Alentejo, Portugal, October 2013]

Lateral view of a Great [White] Egret in non-breeding plumage in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Santa Justa, Coruche, Portugal, January 2018]

Near-lateral view of Great [White] Egrets in non-breeding plumage in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Montargil, Alentejo, Portugal, November 2014]

Lateral view of Great [White] Egrets in non-breeding plumage in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Montargil, Alentejo, Portugal, November 2014]

Great [White] Egret in non-breeding plumage in comparison with a Squacco Heron (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Santa Justa, Coruche, Portugal, February 2018]

Great [White] Egret in non-breeding plumage in comparison with Great Cormorants (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Santa Justa, Coruche, Portugal, November 2018]

Hard times for fish trapped in a stagnant pool of water: Great [White] Egrets, Little Egrets and Grey Herons gathered for an easy meal (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, October 2015]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of an immature Great [White] Egret (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[River Bug, near Malkinia, Masovia, Poland, July 2019]

Great [White] Egrets, either in non-breeding plumage or (given the season) immature birds, in comparison with Little Egrets (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Montargil, Alentejo, Portugal, August 2015]

Race "modesta"

Photos of race "modesta" were obtained in Australia.

Food, Diet

All egrets and herons prey on aquatic creatures in fresh water or estuaries (fish, frogs, snakes or crustaceans). Great [White] Egrets will take any of those.

Reportedly, the last words of this Great [White] Egret's victim were "Oh, rats!"... (photo courtesy of J. Pires )
[Santa Justa, Coruche, Portugal, January 2018]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

We will try to replace these recordings with better ones as soon as possible.

gregret_20190722.m4a (NW NSW) Alarm call (human) © MD
gregret_20150327.mp3 (N NSW) Warning/departure © MD
gregret_20170626.m4a (NW NSW) ? (arrival) © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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