The Small Egret prefer swampy areas with clear and deep water where they can fish at will. Can be found on the banks of rivers, salt lakes etc.
Life style is closely related to the presence of water. When not in fishing, the egret rests on beams, reedbeds or dwarf trees and even on the water’s edge (especially the willows).
In Europe, the small egret lives in the southeastern areas. In the winter, the bird migrates to the Mediterranean and even further south to the center of Africa. Egret subspecies are found in southern Asia (Indonesia, New Guinea), but also in Australia or New Zealand.
The Small Egret’s Food
The diet is mainly small fish but does not refuse amphibians, small reptiles, insects or crustaceans.
The Small Egret’s Features
The small egret has a length between 55 and 60 cm, with a wingspan of 88-100 cm. It’s an easy bird, it does not weigh more than 600 grams
The bird is recognized by the immaculate white plumage and the pair of fine feathers leaving the neck (called egrets). These feathers, along with other precious feathers, on the chest and back, occur only during the reproduction period, being present in both genders.
The legs are long, black, the foot paw being yellow. The beak is long and thin, sharp, measuring about 80 mm, black. During mating, the free skin between the beak and the eyes is colored in red or blue. The neck is long, sleek and very stylish.
The small egret differs from the big egret through the smaller waist and the foot of yellow color. At first glance, the two species may seem the same, but with these signs they can be easily distinguished.
The egret lives in mixed colonies, near the water. It is a bird that feeds exclusively on aquatic prey. It just hunts the day, being addicted to light. The egret walked through the shallow, clear waters, scowling at the bottom of the water.
With rapid and extremely precise movements, prey is tapped like a spear. Seeing is the most developed sense of this bird. Clear water is a prime condition for the egret to be able to fish.
The Small Egret’s Reproduction
The small egret is a monogamous bird. The nest is built by the female with the materials purchased by the male. Generally, they build their nests in the same areas (bottom of trees, shrubs) with other egrets or other aquatic birds.
In April, the female lodges 4-6 blue-colored eggs, which will be wedged by both partners. After 3 weeks the chickens will come out of the eggs. They will spend the next month only in the nest, while they will grow their feathers.
In October the egrets migrate to warmer lands. Very rarely, some specimens remain and are wintering, but they are severely threatened by cold, and are very sensitive to low temperatures.