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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Great Egret / Great White Egret

Afrikaans name: Grootwitreier

Great Egret preening

Photo © Steven Herbert

Egretta alba

Did you know that the Great Egret, often referred to as the Great White Egret, is found on all continents except Antarctica? It occurs across most of South Africa except for the drier western regions.

It is normally found near water including lakes, rivers, flooded grasslands, estuaries etc.

Most of the Great Egrets food is caught in the water. It eats fish, insects, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals and birds.

Great Egrets nest in colonies of up to 200 nests. The male brings nesting material to the female who makes the nest. The nest is made of sticks and lined with plant material. Up to 5 eggs are laid. The eggs and chicks are tended to by both parents.

The wingspan of a Great Egret may be as much as 1.7 metres. They are around 1 metre tall. Male and female have identical plumage.

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 37

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1959 - Page: 172

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 172

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 18

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 21

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 15

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 9

Everyone's Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 43

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 28

Ian Sinclair's Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 54

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 72

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 2000 - Page: 72

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Year Published: 1949 - Page: 21

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 29

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1981 - Page: 35

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 48

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 48

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 58

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 62

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 51

The Herons Handbook - Author: James Hancock and James Kushlan - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 85

Wading Birds of the World - Revised edition - Author: Eric and Richard Soothill - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 40

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 32

List of South African Birds

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