Most Egrets have white or buff-colored plumages.
Several of the white species develop the distinctive, fine plumes during the breeding season, and the name “egret” was, in fact, derived from the French word “aigrette” – meaning “silver heron” or “brush”.
This term is now, however, also applied to those members of the Heron family that are now also included in the Egret family, but don’t have the characteristic white plumage and won’t develop these fancy plumes in the breeding season.
Egrets are long-legged, long-necked, and generally long-billed birds. Their tails are so short, that they, in fact, appear to be “tail-less.”
They often hold their long necks in an ‘S’ shape with the head pulled between the shoulders – even in flight. This unique trait distinguishes them from the otherwise similar Storks and Cranes, which fly with their necks extended straight out.
Although members are found in most of the world, they usually breed in warmer climates.
They are all carnivorous most feeding in or near water taking fish, frogs, lizards, and insects.
- Great Egret or Great White Egret, Ardea alba
- Little Egret Egretta / Ardea garzetta
- Western Reef Egret, Egretta sacra
- Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
- Reddish Egret, Egretta rufescens
- Slaty Egret, Egretta vinaceigula
- Chinese Egret, Egretta eulophotes
- Tricolored Heron / Louisiana Heron, Egretta tricolor
- Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea
- Eastern Reef Egret, Egretta gularis
- Pacific Reef Heron, Egretta / Ardea sacra
- Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis
- Intermediate Egret, Egretta / Ardea intermedia
- White-faced Heron, Egretta / Ardea novaehollandiae
- Black Heron, Egretta ardesiaca
- Dimorphic Egret, Egretta dimorpha