RSPB
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Conservation status: Introduced

As the name suggests, a large, white heron. Great white egrets can look similar to little egrets, but they are much larger -the same size as the familiar grey heron. Other identification features to look out for include black feet (not yellow), yellow beak (in juvenile and non-breeding plumage), and a different fishing technique like that of the grey heron.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Ardea alba

Family

Bitterns and herons (Ardeidae)

Where to see them

Expanding populations in Europe mean that this species is now seen more frequently in the UK - it can turn up in almost part of the country, with most in south-east England and East Anglia. Great white egrets favour all kinds of wetland habitats - even farmland ditches can attract them.

When to see them

Great white egrets have occurred in the UK in all months of the year, but they are most likely to be seen during spring and winter.

What they eat

Fish, insects and frogs, caught by spearing with its long, sharp beak.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
--35 birds-

Distribution