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

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

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

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

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 - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 62

List of South African Birds

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