Physical TraitsLarge, all white heron; long, black legs and feet; yellow bill is long, stout, and straight; flies with neck pulled back in S-curve.
HabitatNests in colonies with other species, in shrubs and trees over water, and on islands; feeds in variety of wetlands, including marshes, swamps, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, tide flats, canals, and flooded fields.
DietFish, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and small mammals
BehaviorLong plumes (aigrettes) held up over back in courtship displays around the nest. Walks slowly, stands and stabs prey with quick lunge of the bill.
Nest Building TechniquesNests in colonies with other herons. Nest placed in trees or shrubs, made of sticks covered with green material.
Migration and RangeShort Distance Migrant
Cool FactsThe Great Egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society, one of the oldest environmental organizations in North America. Audubon was founded to protect birds from being killed for their feathers.
Not all young that hatch survive the nestling period. Aggression among nestlings is common and large chicks frequently kill their smaller siblings.
The longevity record for a wild Great Egret is nearly 23 years.