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.

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 32

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 21

Wading Birds of the World - Revised edition - Author: Eric and Richard Soothill - Published: 1989 - Page: 40

The Herons Handbook - Author: James Hancock and James Kushlan - Published: 1984 - Page: 85

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 51

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 62

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 48

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 58

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 48

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 35

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 29

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 72

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 72

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 54

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

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 43

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

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 15

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 30

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 21

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 18

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 40

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

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 172

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 37


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List of South African Birds

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