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Great Egret / Great White Egret

Afrikaans name: Grootwitreier

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Great Egret hunting

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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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