Fun Intermediate Egret Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Sep 10, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Intermediate egret facts will captivate both parents and their kids
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.5 Min

The intermediate egret (Ardea intermedia) is an old-world bird species whose name comes as it is intermediate in size between the great egret and smaller egrets like the cattle egret and the little egret. It is also called yellow-billed egret and plumed egret in English while the Chinese call it Zhong bailu. The intermediate egret is a heron of medium size. Though sedentary animals, these birds disperse after breeding. It is a highly colonial species and mixes with other heron species while nesting.

The bird is quite widespread in South Asia. Mostly occupying shallow water wetlands, its habitat also includes rice fields, ponds, and salt marshes. The nest consists of a loose platform made up of wetland vegetation and sticks that are placed in trees or shrubs, or grassy areas near water. White egrets hunt their prey by walking slowly or standing in shallow water simultaneously displaying their white plumes.

For more information about other species of birds, please check out Australian pelican facts and Sarus crane facts.

Intermediate Egret Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an intermediate egret?

The intermediate egret is a bird species that are intermediate in size. It belongs to the family of herons.

What class of animal does an intermediate egret belong to?

Like most other bird species, the intermediate egret also belongs to the Aves class of animals.

How many intermediate egrets are there in the world?

Isolated populations of the intermediate egret are found in the areas where they live. The exact range of these birds is not known but thousands of them have been found in north Australia alone.

Where does an intermediate egret live?

Intermediate egret species habitats are trees or shrubs and flood plain rice wetlands. They are residents of fresh water marshes, sewage ponds and lakes, billabongs, rivers, and streams, and swamp forests for using fish as prey. These birds even use rice fields and wet fields along with dry and flooded fields as their habitats. It is common for these egrets to use grasslands near water and wet meadows but it is not coastal species as it has a preference for shallow water that has less than 80 cm depth with grasses sticking out.

What is an intermediate egret's habitat?

The intermediate egret is typically common in southern Asia in countries such as south Japan and east China. The southern range of Africa and even north Australia are resident hotspots for intermediate egret. Nepal, Japan, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are parts of southern Asia where you can find large numbers of these birds. In Africa, the resident of these birds occurs in Mali, Senegal, Chad, Uganda among many other places. Australia has seen sightings of this bird in Southern Victoria, Western Queensland. The Murray-Darling inland river system has quite large breeding colonies of these birds. The intermediate egret range map extends for quite a relatively large portion of the world.

Who do intermediate egrets live with?

Based on extensive habitat research work, it can be stated that the intermediate egret stays in colonies with other egrets.

How long does an intermediate egret live?

It is quite a regret to state that not much information is available on the longevity of the intermediate egret which makes it tough to mention the maximum and minimum age of these birds. However, based on research of other egrets such as the great egret (Ardea alba) and the little egret (Egretta garzetta), the average lifespan of the intermediate egret (Ardea intermedia) should be between 10-15 years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of the intermediate egret varies throughout the year according to the region where they are resident. For example, July to October is the breeding season for South Africa birds. Intermediate egret in India has two breeding seasons, July to September in north India and November to February in south India. It is a highly colonial bird mixing with other herons where the colonies are located on trees near water such as mangrove swamps and inland swamps. A nest consists of a shallow platform of loose sticks and branches placed about 6.6 ft (2 m) above the water. Both the male and the female build the nest stealing sticks from nests located in close proximity.

The courtship makes good use of the white plumes where the male makes all sorts of movements with the most prominent being the Snap during the formation of a pair. Neck arching and plumes flaring are exchanged between the pair. A single clutch of eggs usually consists of 2-3 eggs that are smooth and pale green. Both sexes take part in incubation which goes on for about 25 days. After hatching, both parents look after the young and protect it from predators like ravens and hawks. After 70 days, the young bird leaves its parents’ nest.

What is their conservation status?

As per the reports of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the intermediate egret is a species of Least Concern with a decreasing populations trend.

Intermediate Egret Fun Facts

What do intermediate egrets look like?

The intermediate egret is a sleek bird with a short bill and a long head and neck. This species of herons have a short yellow bill and long back white plumes with a cream-colored tinge. The bill color varies from region to region changing from yellow and brown to yellow and black. The skin color is greenish-yellow. They have yellow irises with dark, two-toned legs. During breeding, a train of long plumes extends along its back to about 10 cm beyond the tail. The head of such birds has no plumes with a slight crest. Rapid changes of colors can be seen during the courtship period which fades afterward. It is often confused with other white herons in the non-breeding season as the color of its bill and feet change with the breeding season. The white plumage and dark legs are signs of an intermediate egret identification.

The male and female have a similar description. The upper legs of the birds are of pink or dull yellow complexion. Slight changes occur in the three subspecies with yellow bill and black tips of the Intermedia species, orange or buff colored bill with pale brown, gray, or green upper legs of the Plumifera while the Brachyrhyncha has a yellowish-orange bill and dark brown lower legs. Photos also show that these white egrets may have a yellow and black bills and black feet.

The intermediate egret is a resident of south-east Asia and North Africa.

How cute are they?

The glorious handy intermediate egret is relatively a cute bird species due to its greenish-yellow skin and yellow bill. The cuteness factor is enhanced by the white breeding plumage.

How do they communicate?

The intermediate egret is a fairly silent bird and most of its vocalizations are quiet. It has a soft buzzing call that is unique among the family of herons. An intermediate egret in flight sometimes lets out a guttural croaking sound.

How big is an intermediate egret?

The intermediate egret is a fairly large bird species. The birds may grow up to a length of 26-28 in (66-71.1 cm). If we compare it to other heron birds such as the Cattle Egret (Ardea ibis) that grows between 18-22 in (45.7-55.9 cm), the intermediate egret is a larger species.

How fast can an intermediate egret fly?

Not much information is available regarding the flight speed of an intermediate egret.

How much does an intermediate egret weigh?

The weight range of the intermediate egret lies between 14.1-17.6 oz (400-500 g) which makes them heavier than the blue heron and significantly lighter than the grey heron.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for either sex.

What would you call a baby intermediate egret?

A young intermediate egret is called a chick.

It has a white down and white crest while the bill color changes with time, from yellow it turns to an all-black bill. The description may also have green legs. A juvenile bird may look like an adult with a slight faint yellow-white plumage.

What do they eat?

The intermediate egret feeds on fish, crustaceans, and insects like the grasshopper (aquatic and terrestrial). Even small birds and reptiles fall prey to these birds.

Are they poisonous?

No, they are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

No, the intermediate egret is a wild bird that is not suitable for a life in captivity. 

Did you know...

Most of the intermediate egret population in Japan is migratory leaving Japan in October and spending the winter in Oceania. The majority of the birds have a non-migratory behavior.

The little egret can be differentiated from the intermediate egret with its dimorphic color and thing long neck.

Difference between a great egret and intermediate egret?

The intermediate egret vs great egret differences include having similar non-breeding colors but the Intermediate is intermediate in size with a domed head and a thicker and shorter bill. On the other hand, the great egret has a kink on its neck. The skin of the larger bird’s gape line extends to a dagger shape behind the eye whereas the smaller bird’s ends below the eye and is less pointed. The Great has a more patient behavior than the Intermediate.

Are egrets nocturnal?

None of the egrets ranging from the intermediate egret to little egret are nocturnal birds.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these giant cowbird facts and ani bird facts for kids.

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

Second image by Mike Prince from Bangalore, India

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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