The Great Egret

 Size & Shape

Great Egrets are tall, long-legged wading birds with long, S-curved necks and long, dagger-like bills. In flight, the long neck is tucked in and the legs extend far beyond the tip of the short tail.


Smaller than a Great Blue Heron; larger than a Snowy Egret.

goose-sized or larger

  • Both Sexes
    • Length: 37.0-40.9 in (94-104 cm)
    • Weight: 35.3 oz (1000 g)
    • Wingspan: 51.6-57.1 in (131-145 cm)

Color Pattern

All feathers on Great Egrets are white. Their bills are yellowish-orange, and the legs black.

Great Egrets wade in shallow water (both fresh and salt) to hunt fish, frogs, and other small aquatic animals. They typically stand still and watch for unsuspecting prey to pass by. Then, with startling speed, the egrets strike with a jab of their long neck and bill.

You’ll find Great Egrets in both freshwater and saltwater habitats. They are colonial nesters, typically placing stick nests high in trees, often on islands that are isolated from mammalian predators such as raccoons.

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