Ardea alba • Birds
Great egrets are graceful, long-legged, S-necked with all white feathers, long black legs and a long, stout yellow tail. They are always near the water (salt or fresh), feed in wetlands, streams, ponds and tidal flats in the Americas and around the world. They gather in colonies, including other types of birds, mate for life, and both parents incubate the 3-4 eggs. Sibling rivalry is common and young egrets are often aggressive towards each other.
Great egrets snare prey by walking slowly or standing still for long periods, waiting for an animal to come within range of their long necks and razor sharp bills. With a quick thrust of that sharp bill they capture their prey and swallow it whole. Fish are a dietary staple, but great egrets use similar techniques to eat amphibians, reptiles, mice, and other small animals.
In the 19th century, in North America, their numbers dropped by 95% due to their snowy white feathers being in demand for fashion of that time. Today their outlook is much brighter thanks to being legally protected.