Belongs to: herons

Compare with: grey heron

Little egret Egretta garzetta

Birds of Conservation Concern Amber List


Best time to see: all year

Key facts

A small white heron with plumes on its head and chest

Widely distributed across southern Europe and into Asia, recently extending its range northwards, including into Essex

Frequents marshes and shallow fresh and coastal waters

Recognition

Pure white with black bill and legs; easily identified by its yellow feet, which show clearly in flight; 60 cm

Long drooping crest and wing plumes develop in breeding season

Mostly silent; eats fish, amphibians and large invertebrates

Lifecycle

Nest communally near water, usually alongside other herons and other wetland species

Breed in reedbeds, wetland scrub and in trees, up to 20m

One brood of 4–6 pale eggs, April–June

  • Main photo

Photo © Tony Gunton