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Conservation status: Green

The little egret is a small white heron with attractive white plumes on crest, back and chest, black legs and bill and yellow feet. It first appeared in the UK in significant numbers in 1989 and first bred in Dorset in 1996. Its colonization followed naturally from a range expansion into western and northern France in previous decades. It is now at home on numerous south coast sites, both as a breeding species and as a winter visitor.



Latin name

Egretta garzetta


Bitterns and herons (Ardeidae)

Where to see them

A recent colonist, it is most common along the south and east coasts of England, and in Wales. The estuaries of Devon and Cornwall; Poole Harbour and Chichester Harbour hold some of the largest concentrations and they are also common in East Anglia. They are an increasingly common sight in inland areas too and are gradually increasing their range northwards here.

When to see them

All year round, although numbers incease in autumn and winter as birds arrive from the Continent.

What they eat



EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-660-740 pairs4,500 birds-



Marco Dragonetti, Xeno-canto