great egret

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.


yellow crowned night heron

Nyctanassa violacea

Yellow-crowned night heron

The Yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea) Is a medium-sized, long-legged wading bird. About 1.5 times larger than a football and similarly shaped. Considered nighttime feeders, we regularly hear these beautiful birds in the treetops and often spot them inside mangrove tunnels on our kayak tours. Adult males are beautifully colored and aptly named for their yellow crowns. Their bodies are covered in grayish feathers similar to the Great Blue Heron color. They have a black face with white cheeks and have yellow legs. Closely related to the Black-crowned night heron and Green heron. All three species are similarly shaped like a football. The football shape is due to their necks being shorter than birds like the Great Egret or Tri-Colored Heron.

Range

Found year round in Southwest Florida and seasonal throughout the southeast atlantic coast all the way west to texas and mid way up the Missippi river delta.

Diet

Primarily feed on crustaceans such as crayfish, crabs, and larger insects. In the Everglades, mangrove crabs are a favorite menu item.