Great Egrets or Great White Herons are seen in most all wetlands in the tropical areas of North America. These graceful and beautiful white birds are very tall, have very long necks that are S-shaped and they have very wide wingspans. They are often seen standing or wading in knee-high water or wading to fish for their next meal, which they wait patiently to swim by.
Size and Shape
Great Egrets have very long legs, necks and bills. All these are necessary for them to survive on fish and other aquatic animals that they catch while wading in water. Their long legs allow them to actually wade out in the water to fish for their meal, their long necks are necessary for reaching into the water because of their legs being so long and their long bills are what they use to catch their food. When they are flying they will tuck their necks in and their legs will be out past their tails. The feathers that cover their body is white, their long bills are yellow and their long legs are black.
Great Egrets are waders and will be found in shallow water that can be either fresh or saltwater. They wade in this water to fish for their meals which can be frogs, fish, shrimp or other small animals found in the water. They are interesting to watch when they are fishing because they will be as still as a statue until their meal swims by then they strike with great speed and stab their prey with their bill.
Breeding season for these beautiful wading birds is early March through early August.
The habitat that Great Egrets are found in is just about any wetlands, especially those that are in tropical areas. The water in these areas can be saltwater or freshwater. Great Egrets nest in colonies up high in the trees, usually on isolated islands away from predators including raccoons. The nests that these beautiful big wading birds build are built out of sticks.
Great Egrets are commonly seen, especially where there is fish or people are fishing. They are not very shy when they are fishing for their meal. They will often continue with their fishing as you are fishing right along side of them. They have even been known to eat your bait if you do not pay attention to them.
All About Birds
Texas A&M University