Splendor of the Great Egret

Posted in Wildlife A-Z | April 8, 2010

The great egret is a long-legged bird whose neck takes an ‘S-shape’. It is found throughout the Americas. Many diverse areas of the world are home to this species. It is regarded as the largest white egret that occurs within its range. The great blue heron is the only species larger than the great egret.

Great egrets are found near salt water or fresh water. Their feeding areas include wetlands, streams, ponds, and tidal flats. They capture prey by walking silently or standing still for long periods of time. Any animal that comes within range of their long necks and razor-sharp bills is potential prey. The ultimate death blow is given with an immediate thrust of the sharp bill. The prey is then swallowed whole. Fish serves as the staple diet for the great egret. They also gorge on amphibians, reptiles, mice, and other small animals.

The great egret nests in trees or near water. They gather in groups known as colonies. These colonies may include other species of herons and egrets. Great egrets are monogamous. Their eggs are incubated by both parents. A female egret lays three to four eggs. Young egrets are aggressive toward others in the nest. Stronger birds are known to kill the weaker ones. This ensures that not all survive after a couple of weeks.

The great egret has become a symbol of the National Audubon Society. It represents a success story in conservation. The snow-white plumage of the bird made it popular in North America in the 19th century. These birds are known to have been decimated by plume hunters. These hunters were purveyors of latest fashion for ladies. Due to hunting, the population of the great egrets has reduced by 95%. Today, however, their outlook is much brighter. The birds have been provided legal protection since the last century. This has ensured high numbers of this beautiful bird.

  • Add to Delicious!Save to delicious
  • Stumble itStumble it

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv Enabled