Little Egret Egretta garzetta   [Linnaeus, 1766]

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Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Ardeidae
BTO Codes: ET, LITEG EURING No: 1190
Number in Britain: 700 Pairs (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Resident Breeder, Passage Visitor
Subspecies: garzetta recorded in Britain (of 2 subsp. in the world)
Length: 60 cm Wingspan: 92 cm Weight: M/F: 450 g    
Scientific name from: French: aigrette=egret and Italian: garzetta=a little white heron
World Distribution: local throughout s,c Europe, Asia Australasia and Africa
Habitat: Lakes, marsh, flooded fields & estuary
Diet: Mostly small fish, amphibians, large insects, but wide variety of animals
TitBit: The elegant neck plumes of an egret in breeding plumage were once more valuable than gold, smuggled into Europe they fetched £15 an ounce or 28g (about £875 at 2000 prices), each Little Egret producing about 1g of plumes.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: No population trend available
Distribution: No distribution maps available
British Population Size:
    Summer: 700 Pairs in
    Winter: 4500 individuals in 2004/05 - 2008/09
    First Record: East Yorkshire, 1826
    First Breeding Record: Dorset 1996
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Localised Breeding Population,
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 GREEN  
   Races of Concern: garzetta AMBER (Rare or Localised)
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
European Population Size:
    Summer: 61 to 84 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WBD(I), Bern(III)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 46 x 34 mm Egg Weight: 28.0 g (of which 7 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 3
Clutch Size: 4 - 5 eggs
Incubation: 21- 22 days   by the: Male + Female
Fledging: 40 - 45days as: Altricial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.712       
Juvenile Survival: 0.320 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: 2 years Typical Lifespan: 5 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 9 years 6 months 25 days (set in 2010)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: G*
Wing Length Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
Weight Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: Insufficient Data
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data

Other Names

Gaelic: Corra-gheal-bheag Welsh: Crëyr bach
Danish: Silkehejre Dutch: Kleine zilverreiger
Finnish: Silkkihaikara French: Aigrette garzette
German: Seidenreiher Hungarian: Kis kócsag
Icelandic: Bjarthegri Irish: Éigrit Bheag
Italian: Garzetta Norwegian: Silkehegre
Polish: Czapla nadobna Portuguese: Garça-branca-pequena
Spanish: Garceta común Swedish: Silkeshäger

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Voisin, C. 1991 The herons of Europe Poyser, London [598.461 VOI]
   Hafner, H. et al. 2002 BWP Update 4:1-20
   Kushlan, J.A. & Hancock, J. 2005 The Herons Oxford University Press [598.461 KUS]
See Also:
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Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides