Little Egret

The little Egret is a small white heron common throughout South Africa

South Africa BirdlifeThe Little Egret {Egretta garzetta}

The Little Egret is a small white heron generally seen singly or in small loose groups.

The adult Little Egret is 55-65 cm long with a 88-106 cm wingspan. Its plumage is all white. It has long black legs with yellow feet and a slim black bill. In the breeding season, the adult has two long nape plumes and red between the bill and eyes.

Unlike most larger herons and other white egrets which occur at the waterside, it usually hunts actively, darting, twisting and dashing about in pursuit of prey.

Quick Facts

Size

Length: 55 to 56 cm.
Wingspan: 88 to 106 cm.

Habitat

Common on the shoreline of any body of water, including oceans and estuaries.

Distribution

Common in South Africa.

Diet

They feed on fish, crustaceans and insects.

Socialisation

It is generally seen singly or in small loose groups. Unlike most larger herons and other white egrets which occur at the waterside, it usually hunts actively, darting, twisting and dashing about in pursuit of prey. It may also hunt in typical heron fashion by standing motionless and waiting for prey to approach within striking distance.

Reproduction

The Little Egret nests in colonies, often with other wading birds, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. The three to five eggs are incubated by both adults for 21-25 days to hatching.

Incubation

Incubation lasts for 21 to 25 days.

Life Expectancy

About 5 to 9 years.

Predators

Nestlings may be prey to hawks, owls and crows.

References

BBC Nature; Biodiversity Explorer.