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Little Egret by Rob Miller

Little Egret

Egretta garzetta

Key Facts

  • Length: 90-100cm
  • Wingspan: 1.8m
  • Weight: 1.5kg

The Little Egret is a small, white heron which feeds on small fish and crustaceans. Once a very rare visitor from the Mediterranean, Little Egrets are now a common sight around the coasts of southern England and Wales as they expand their range, possibly due to climate change.

It first bred in the UK on Brownsea Island, Dorset, in 1996, and has been moving northwards ever since; it was recorded as breeding in Berkshire for the first time in 2007.

How to Identify

The Little Egret is a white heron with black legs and yellow feet. It has a black bill and long plumes on its head and neck during the breeding season.

Where to Find

Found around the coasts and estuaries of England and Wales, more rarely in Scotland and inland.

How People Can Help

With the effects of climate change becoming more apparent – from unseasonal flooding to warmer winters – it is quite likely that more wildlife will be able to expand its range. This might be good for those species that are threatened, but it may cause competition between species and unbalance natural habitats. The Wildlife Trusts are working with other organisations and individuals to create a ‘Living Landscape’: a network of habitats stretching across town and country, allowing wildlife to adapt to climate change and move about freely, and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Did you know?

The long neck plumes of Little Egrets were once more valuable than gold, being smuggled into Europe in the 19th century. As a result, heron populations plummeted until laws were implemented to protect them.

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