Ardea alba Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
Apart from the white phase of the great blue heron, this is the largest white heron in Florida. Over three feet (1 m) tall, it has a yellow bill and black legs and feet. During the breeding season the bill turns orange
Known for its fabulous long white head and neck plumes called aigrettes, the great egret was hunted almost to extinction during the early 1900’s when it was fashionable to wear feathers on hats.
Great egrets hunt in shallow wetlands, salt marshes and around the edges of lakes. They stalk slowly through the shallows picking off fish, frogs and any other small creature they can catch.
In Florida, great egrets usually nest between January and June in large mixed rookeries. There are several excellent places to get great views of these birds courting, nesting, and feeding chicks; one of these sites is the St Augustine Alligator Farm.
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