Great Egret
Ardea alba, syn. Casmerodius albus
Family Ardeidae

Also known as the American Egret, this stately, graceful wading bird is often seen waiting patiently near the water’s edge for a fish or frog to wander too close.

Identifying Traits (male):

  • Bill long and spearlike; orange when breeding, yellow otherwise
  • Long, flexible neck
  • Pure white body
  • Long, slender black legs
  • Flies with neck folded back against body
  • Prominent ruff of feathers sometimes visible at base of neck
  • Size: 95 cm (38”)
  • Weight: 1 kg (36 oz)

Similar Species: The rare white morph of the Great Blue Heron has yellow legs.


Voice: Great Egrets are generally silent; their call is a harsh croak.  Sometimes, they will utter a series of hoarse cuk notes.

Habitat Great Egrets can be seen foraging on the shores of streams, lakes, and marshes, as well as at coastal estuaries.

Range: Great Egrets can be found year-round up to about 100 miles from the coast along most of the Atlantic seaboard, as far north as Massachusetts.  They are abundant in Florida and around the Gulf coast, and they breed far inland to the north in the Midwest.

Interesting Facts: The Great Egret is the symbol of the American Audubon Society.



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