Eastern Great Egret

Images ©:
Bob Winters | Bob Winters

Ardea modesta


Large bird, up to 90 cm. Overall plumage is white and for most of the year (when not breeding) the bill and facial skin are yellow. Feet and legs are dark olive-grey to black. During the breeding season the bill turns mostly black, the facial skin becomes green, long hair-like feathers (nuptial plumes) hang across the lower back, and the legs become pinkish-yellow at the top.


Details
Type
Bird
Group
Animals
Egret
Other Common Names
Great Egret, Large Egret
Biology

Breeding season: October to December, in the south. Clutch size is two to three. Breeds in colonies, often alongside cormorants, ibises and other egrets. The nest is a large platform of sticks placed in a tree over water. Both sexes construct the nest. The nest from previous years may often be used. Both sexes incubate eggs and care for the young.

Distinctive Markings

The length of its neck is greater than the length of its body. Its neck has a kink two-thirds of the way up. A dark line extends from the base of the bill to behind the eye.

Taxonomy
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Ciconiiformes
Family
Ardeidae
Species
modesta

The Eastern Great Egret is the largest of the Australian egrets.


Interesting Facts
Diet

Carnivore. Feeds on molluscs, amphibians, aquatic insects, small reptiles, crustaceans and occasionally other small animals, but fish make up the bulk of its diet. Feeds alone. Hunts in water, wading through the shallows, or standing motionless before stabbing at prey.

Habitat

Found in damp grasslands and any watered area.

Native Status
Native to Australia