Great egret
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes/Ciconiiformes
Family: Ardeidae
Genus: Ardea
Species: Ardea alba

The great egret (Ardea alba) is the largest white egret found over most of its range. It is a 41 inch-long bird that has a wingspan of 55 inches. It can be distinguished from other white egrets by its size, yellow bill, and black legs and feet.


The great egret is a large white egret with a long and slender yellow bill. Its feet and legs are black. It develops long trains of lacy plumes on its back that extend beyond the tail during breeding season. Its bill also becomes more orange in color.


Usually this bird is diurnal in its activities. But, it flies singly or in groups to communal roosts in trees for night.


The diet of the great egret consists mostly of fish. Aside from fish, it also eats crustaceans, frogs, salamanders, snakes, and insects. It has also been seen catching other small birds. They forage mostly by standing or walking in shallow water, waiting for fish to come near, and then catching them by the rapid thrust of their bill.


Great egret chicks with parent in nest-198

A great egret with its chicks in the nest.

The nest is usually in a tree or shrub, 10-40 feet above the ground or water. Sometimes it nests in isolated pairs. Normally, it is in colonies, often mixed with other wading birds. The nest is built by both sexes, and is a platform of sticks. They lay 3-4 pale blue-green eggs. Both parents incubate the clutch for 25 days.

Similar birdsEdit

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