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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Little Egret

Hebrides bird sightings -  Little Egret

Little Egret

Egretta gularis

Photography © Andy L
Tong - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
1st November, 2008

 

Our Little Egret photographs

Little Egret
Little Egret
Little Egret
Little Egret

 

  • Little Egret
  • Egretta gularis
  • UK: AMBER LIST. Breeding 146-162 pairs. Wintering 1,600 birds RSPB
  • UK: Resident Breeder, Passage Visitor
  • WI: Scarce visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years) TBC
  • Breeding: Nests in colonies. Nest is a platform of sticks in tree, reedbed, bamboo grove, shrub, or on a cliff. Lays 3-5 matte blue-green eggs. Europe, Asia, Australia, Asia, Africa
  • Wintering: Mostly resident. Birds breeding in northernmost parts migrate to Africa & Asia. Some birds wander north after breeding, which extends the breeding range
  • Habitat: Lakes, marsh, flooded fields, estuaries
  • Diet: Stalks prey in shallow water. Running (wings raised) or motionless stalking. Mostly small fish, amphibians, large insects, crustaceans, but also small animals
  • Small white heron. White plumes on crest, back & chest. Black legs & bill. Yellow feet. Hunches neck in flight
  • Typical lifespan 5yrs. Max recorded age 21yrs 4mths
  • Listen to a Little Egret (RSPB site)
  • Similar birds: Grey Heron, Spoonbill (rare) Great White Egret (rare)

 

There was a influx of Little Egrets to the UK in 1989, since then Little Egrets have been resident in the UK and the first pair bred in Dorset in 1996. There are now about 50 Little Egret breeding pairs in the UK.

 

The Little Egret develops a set of long showy feathers which spread like a very large fan. It uses them in courtship displays. In the late 19th and early 20th century the species was decimated by the requirements of the fashion trade as humans emulated the herons. At one time the feathers were weight-for-weight more expensive than gold.

Now conservation laws protect the Little Egrets, and the population has recovered.

 

Little Egret records in the Western Isles

Scarce visitor (very small numbers recorded in most years) TBC
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)

The chart below shows how abundant the Little Egret is during a month or when you are more likely to see it.

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

 

(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)

Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section


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