Great Egret

photo by Phil Swanson

Ardea alba
L 39″ (99 cm) W 51″ (130 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Usually silent away from colony; sometimes croaks.

Description: Large, all white heron with long black legs and feet. Long straigh yellow bill.

great egret
Habitat: Attracted to shallow water of rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs and marshes during the breeding season and during migration.

Where in Nebraska: Fairly common regular spring and fall migrant in the eastern portion of the state and becomming more rare in the west. Common regular summer visitor east and central.

Status: Population was greatly reduced by plume hunters at the turn of the 20th century; now mostly recovered. Higher numbers of breeders possible in the state than records reflect.

Field Notes: Heronries should be scanned for Great Egrets, especially those in the Missouri River Valley.

Fun Facts: The Great Egret is the symbol for the National Audobon Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to bird conservation and was founded to protect birds from being killed for their feathers.

Great Egret - photo by Phil Swanson Great Egret - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)