Andrea alba

Great Egret

Great egrets are abundant in the Everglades. These birds are large, all white, with straight dagger-like yellow beaks and long black legs. Great egrets aren’t as stocky as a Great blue heron, but they seem to be as tall when standing alone. You will notice the difference if you see a Great Blue and a Great Egret. We typically see these birds on our kayak tours, wading about 6 inches deep in the water. If you see a large all-white wading bird here in the Everglades, it’s most often this species. White Ibis, Cattle egret, and Snowy Egrets are much smaller. Wood Storks are much larger with a heavy naked or featherless head. The naked look is similar to what a vulture’s head would look like but is a different shape. White Pelicans will be seen floating in the water, not standing tall, and are much stockier.
It is important to remember how a bird interacts in its environment is very helpful in IDing the species. White Pelicans floating in the water or Roseate Spoonbills actively feeding is an excellent example of how you would ID them by their movements.

Range

Found all over the world in a few variations from Africa, Asia, Central, and South America. Very abundant in the United States.

Diet

These birds feed on just about everything. Known as an opputunistic feeder. Feeding mainly on fish and small amphibians. Great Egrets will also feed on crustacians such as the Mangrove Crabs and small Blue crabs.