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Great Egret

Great White Egret
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Ardea alba

The Great White Egret or Great Egret (Ardea alba) is a wading egret, found in most of the tropical and warmer temperate parts of the world, although it is very local in southern Europe and Asia. It is partially migratory, with birds moving south from areas with cold winters. It should not be confused with the Great White Heron, which is a white morph of the Great Blue Heron found in Florida.

This species breeds in colonies in trees close to large lakes with reed beds or other extensive wetlands. It builds a bulky stick nest.

It feeds in shallow water or drier habitats, spearing fish, frogs or insects with its long, sharp bill. It will often wait motionless for prey, or slowly stalk its victim. It is a conspicuous species, usually easily seen.

The Great White Egret is a large bird, only slightly smaller than the Great Blue or Grey Herons. It has all white plumage.

Apart from size, it can be distinguished from other white egrets by its yellow bill and black legs and feet. It also has a slow flight, with its neck retracted. This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, craness and spoonbills, which extend their necks.

The call at breeding colonies is a loud croaking "krrrk ".

Great Egrets.