Little EgretEgretta garzetta

adult, breeding
Greg Lasley/VIREO
adult, nonbreeding
Arthur Morris/VIREO
Hanne & Jens Eriksen/VIREO
Little Egret



Longer and heavier bill, thicker legs, slate gray lores and overall larger size differentiate this bird from the very similar to Snowy Egret. Breeding individuals have two long head plumes and elongated breast feathers.


Usually silent. Some calls similar to Snowy Egret. Breeding individuals give rapid gobbling sounds.



Large coastal and inland wetlands.


A rare visitor to the Atlantic coast originally from Eurasia and Africa.


The first record of Little Egret in the New World was on Barbados in April 1954 where it began breeding 40 years later. Individuals are seen with increasing regularity as far south as Brazil and northward along the Alantic coast to Newfoundland. Many European breeders migrate south across the Sahara to winter in equatorial Africa. Birds seen in North America might have been carried by prevailing trade winds to the Caribbean and South America and then attempt their "normal" migration northward in the spring and summer months, only now they find themselves in the western hemisphere. European origins are confirmed by the recovery of at least two individuals banded as nestlings in Spain.


Colonies of nests made of platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs, often with other wading birds. In Cape Verde Islands nests on cliffs. Pairs will defend a small territory immediately around the nest site. Three to five blue-green eggs are incubated by both sexes for 25 days. Nestlings covered in white down and fed by both parents for 45 days until fledging.


iPad Promo