Belongs to: herons

Compare with: little egret
grey heron

Great white egret Ardea alba

Also known as: great egret, common egret

Best time to see: Oct to end Apr

Key facts

A large white heron, apart from its size identifiable by its yellow beak and black legs

Seen in Britain in increasing numbers in recent years, mainly in winter, with a few pairs staying on to breed

Frequents any wetland habitat, both coastal and inland, and even farmland ditches


Stands almost 1m tall; white with black lower legs and feet ; yellow bill for most of the year, blackish when breeding

Feeds in shallow water on fish, amphibians and large insects, spearing them with its beak

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© PsJeremy