Our Beautiful World

Herons and Egrettas, Ardea and Egretta

Photo: © www.vulkaner.no

The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae. There are 64 recognised species in this family. Some are called "egrets" or "bitterns" instead of "heron".

Egretta is a genus of medium-sized herons, mostly breeding in warmer climates. Representatives of this family are found in most of the world, and the Little Egret, as well as being widespread throughout much of the Old World, has now started to colonise the Americas.

These are typical egrets in shape, long-necked and long-legged. There are few plumage features in common, although several have plumes in breeding plumage; a number of species are either white in all plumages, have a white morph (e.g. Reddish Egret), or have a white juvenile plumage (Little Blue Heron).

The breeding habitat of Egretta herons is marshy wetlands in warm countries. They nest in colonies, often with other wading birds, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs.

These herons feed on insects, fish and amphibians, caught normally by cautious stalking.

Engelsk Norsk Latinsk
Black Heron Skyggehegre Egretta ardesiaca
Little Blue Heron Blåhegre Egretta caerulea
Chinese Egret Kritthegre Egretta eulophotes
Little Egret Silkehegre Egretta garzetta
Western Reef-Heron Strandhegre Egretta gularis
Intermediate Egret Duskhegre Egretta intermedia
White-faced Heron Hvitmaskehegre Egretta novaehollandiae
Pied Heron Hvithalshegre Egretta picata
Reddish Egret Dansehegre Egretta rufescens
Pacific Reef-Heron Sothegre Egretta sacra
Snowy Egret Snøhegre Egretta thula
Tricolored Heron Prakthegre Egretta tricolor
Slaty Egret Ruststrupehegre Egretta vinaceigula

English Norsk Latin
Great Egret Egretthegre Ardea alba
Gray Heron Gråhegre Ardea cinerea
Cocoi Heron Cocoihegre Ardea cocoi
Goliath Heron Goliathegre Ardea goliath
Great Blue Heron Herodiashegre Ardea herodias
Humblot's Heron Madagaskarhegre Ardea humbloti
White-bellied Heron Keiserhegre Ardea insignis
Black-headed Heron Svarthodehegre Ardea melanocephala
Pacific Heron Hvithodehegre Ardea pacifica
Purple Heron Purpurhegre Ardea purpurea
Great-billed Heron Sotvingehegre Ardea sumatrana


Little Egret, Egretta garzetta  


The Little Egret forms a superspecies with the Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) with the Little Egret being present
in the Old World while the Snowy Egret is found in the New World.

It is partially migratory with more northern populations migrating south during the northern winter.

© Arthur Grosset
They are found in a wide variety of open wetland type of habitat where they feed during the day on a variety of animals
such as insects, frogs, reptiles, etc.. They use a variety of hunting techniques including foot stirring with its bright yellow
feet which seems to attract prey within the range of its bill.

ARKive video - Little egret - hunting and feeding behaviour  ARKive video - Little egret - hunting and feeding behaviour

Little egret - hunting and feeding behaviour and nesting and roosting behaviour
BBC Natural History Unit

Denmark, June 2007
Photo © Jørgen Scheel

The nezxt rictures are probably Great Egret, Ardea alba

All pictures La Gomera, Canary Islands
© www.vulkaner.no


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