Species Identification - Birds

Great Egret - Ardea alba

Family: Herons


Description: Largest of the egrets, it has a heavy yellow bill, blackish legs and feet. In breeding, long plumes trail from the back beyond the tail. Occasionally makes deep croaking sounds. Stalks prey slowly. Once hunted for its feathers to adorn women’s hats, the Great Egret was nearly wiped out in the US in the late 1800s. Conservationists put a stop to the slaughter, and protected its colonies. Now it is the symbol of the National Audubon Society.

RRange: Common. Covers southern part of North America mainly near shores but also in interior, wetlands, damp fields, even roadsides.

Photos by Carl Berube

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