Most egrets have a white or buff-colored plumages.

Several of the white species develop the distinctive, fine plumes during the breeding season, and the name “egret” was, in fact, derived from the French word “aigrette” – meaning “silver heron” or “brush”.

This term is now, however, also applied to those members of the Heron family that are now also included in the Egret family, but don’t have the characteristic white plumage and won’t develop these fancy plumes in the breeding season.

Egrets are long-legged, long-necked and generally long-billed birds. Their tails are so short, that they, in fact, appear to be “tail-less.”

They often hold their long necks in an ‘S’ shape with the head pulled between the shoulders – even in flight. This unique trait distinguishes them from the otherwise similar Storks and Cranes, which fly with their necks extended straight out.

Although members are found in most of the world, they usually breed in warmer climates.

They are all carnivorous most feeding in or near water taking fish, frogs, lizards and insects.

Genus Egretta

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) - the intense color of the bill and lores is due to increased hormonal flows during breeding season
Chinese Egret
Reddish Egret
Photo of author

Team Beauty of Birds's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

You can meet our team here.