Fun Great Egret Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Oct 20, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 18, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Read on to learn some fun, great egret facts about these North American birds that are also known as the great white heron.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

The great egret (Ardea alba), also known by many other names like large egret, common egret, great white heron, and great white egret, is part of the egret bird species. Egrets are birds that have longer legs than their body. Great egrets are a species of North American birds that are related to many subspecies which can be found all over the world. One particular bird species known as the great blue heron is also an American bird found mostly in the Caribbean. It is a similar species but a colorful blue species of the Great Egret. Research is still taking place at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in New York to understand whether these two are separate species or the subspecies of the great egrets.

Like every other water-bird species, the great egrets also prey on the marine fish and sometimes are seen swimming instead of wading to catch their food. Other than that, as these birds are large in size, they do not have many predators; that is why they sleep on the trees beside the freshwater habitat.

Here on our page, we have a lot of interesting facts on the Great Egret for everyone to enjoy. Let's have a look at these interesting facts, and if you do like these, you can read our pink cockatoo facts and fish crow facts.

Great Egret Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a great egret?

The great egret (Ardea alba) is a large egret great species in the North American region.

What class of animal does a great egret belong to?

These North American birds, the great egret birds, belong to the class of Aves.

How many great egrets are there in the world?

There are no records that tell us the exact populations of great egrets. They are listed as of Least Concern as per their conservation status found worldwide; therefore one can assume their populations are quite stable. The scattering of their population is what makes it hard to estimate the exact number.

Where does a great egret live?

Although the great egrets are originally from North America, they are found almost worldwide. The major range of countries where they are largely found in Asia, southern Europe, Africa, and lastly, America.

What is a great egret habitat?

The areas where the great egrets can be found are primarily ponds, freshwater lakes, marshes, shores, rivers, lagoons, mudflats, shallow water, and wetlands. As egrets and herons are sea birds, they are found often wherever water is. Sometimes these birds are also seen in brackish waters.

Who does great egret live with?

Although egrets are solitary birds, great egrets are found in groups that are known as colonies. The colonies of this bird can go to the large range where other egrets and herons are also found residing. One habit of the great egret includes migrating towards the south with the changing seasons, and they are usually found migrating in colonies.

How long does a great egret live?

The lifespan range of the great egrets can be up to five years of age. According to the records of the National Audubon Society, the oldest great egret lived up to the age of 22 years!

How do they reproduce?

The breeding range of these egrets is usually the wetlands of the south. The normal behavior of these birds is to breed in colonies. When the breeding season arrives in March to April, both the male and female egrets grow plumes and begin the process of breeding. After the breeding season follows the nesting season and incubation period of eggs, which lasts for some weeks, and the young chicks emerge from eggs after a month or so. When they are still young chicks, they linger at their nesting place for around six weeks while the family takes care of them.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of great egrets is listed as a species of Least Concern. The reason is these birds are found almost worldwide, and as egrets are large, they do not have so many natural predators and threats; therefore populations are quite stable.

Great Egret Fun Facts

What does great egret look like?

Great Egret

The great egret bird is quite easy to spot as its physical description is the following, they\ have an overall white body with a sharp and long yellow bill, and legs which are often light black similar to the grey color. The feet are not webbed and have toes on them. The neck is long and is in a curved 'S' shape. Their neck, long legs, and bill are distinct features that differentiate them from the other sea birds. During the breeding and nesting weeks, the egrets grow the plumes feathers to attract mates.

How cute are they?

The great egret is a cute-looking bird. Their overall white color with long legs looks very elegant from afar.

How do they communicate?

Great egrets communicate with each other through the use of various vocalizations which they produce from their bill. These sounds include nasal squeals, croaking, clicking sounds, and harsh calls. Apart from the vocals, they also communicate by displaying their wings.

How big is a great egret?

The range of size of a great egret when it is standing can be around 31-39 in (80-100 cm) in length. These birds are larger than the laughing gulls of South Carolina, which are about 16 in (15.24 cm) in length.

How fast can a great egret fly?

The speed that a great egret can fly up to is around 25 mph (40 kph), which is rather fast!

How much does a great egret weigh?

The weight that a great egret bird can reach is up to 1.5-3.3 lb (0.7-1.5 kg) in all.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no sex-specific name for the male or female great egret.

What would you call a baby great egret?

There is no particular name for a baby great egret. They are just called chicks while they are young.

What do they eat?

The food that a great egret preys on consists of marine fish and insects. Their diet also consists of small mammals, reptiles, and frogs. These birds usually prey while wading but are also seen swimming towards their food.

Are they dangerous?

Studies show that great egrets are not dangerous to human beings, but they show some type of aggressive behavior towards one another when they are young or when they defend their space.

Would they make a good pet?

The great egret would not be a good pet as they do not belong in captivity. These birds prey on marine fish, insects, and small mammals and require migration to ensure they reach their fullest potential.

Did you know...

The National Audubon Society is a bird conservation society that dedicates its logo to the great egrets, which means they have this bird image as their official logo.

Do egrets eat other birds?

Great egrets and other egrets are carnivore animals which means their diet is made up of other animals. These birds are seen to feed on marine fish and invertebrates. They can also feed on small birds, reptiles, and mammals.

What is the difference between a heron and an egret?

The key difference between the heron and the egret is in their height difference. Egrets are smaller in height than herons. Another key difference between them is the color of the legs. The leg color of the egret is usually black with little white, while the heron's legs are in light color, which can be either gray or brown.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our ovenbird facts and blue-winged teal facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable great egret coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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