Great Egret  Casmerodius albus


  • Casmerodius : Greek word khasios – treasure, wealth ; erodios -heron { The plumage of Egret was used as fashion accessory hence in great demand and considered a treasure}
  • Albus : Latin word for “White”

Distribution in India: Wide spread resident except for Himalayas and Rajasthan

Description: Size of 90-102 cm. They have White body, yellow bill and black legs and feet, though the bill may become darker and the lower legs lighter in the breeding season. In breeding plumage, delicate ornamental feathers are borne on the back. The gape extends well beyond the back of the eye. It has a pronounced kink to its neck. Males and females are identical.

Habitat: It is found in freshwater habitats, particularly locations with reed beds marshes, lagoons and lakes surrounded by dense vegetation, also in mangrove swamps on the coast

Food Habits: They eat mainly fish, frogs, small mammals, and occasionally small reptiles and insects, spearing them with their long, sharp bill most of the time by standing still and allowing the prey to come within striking distance of their bill which is used as a spear. They will often wait motionless for prey, or slowly stalk the victim.

Breeding Habits: They breed in colonies in trees close to large lakes with reed beds or other extensive wetlands, preferably at height of 10–40 feet .They form monogamous pairs each season. The male selects the nest area, starts a nest and then attracts a female. The nest, made of sticks and lined with plant material, could be up to 3 feet across. Clutch is of 4-6 eggs laid at one time. Both sexes incubate the eggs and the incubation period is 25 days. The young are fed by regurgitation by both parents and they are able to fly within 7 weeks.