Friday, 25 October 2013

124. Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Little Egrets are leading the vanguard of the UK egret invasion! They have been colonising rapidly over the last couple of decades or so, gradually spreading northwards from continental Europe. They can certainly be seen regularly here in the West Midlands now in the right spots, e.g. RSPB Middleton Lakes. They are larger than a Cattle Egret but smaller than a Great White, and can be told apart from a Cattle Egret in non-breeding plumage by their longer darker bill, more slim and elegant body and its legs and feet, which in the adult are usually black and yellow respectively (Cattle Egret's are uniformly coloured). They like both fresh and salt water and can be found in shallow lakes, coastal lagoons, rivers and along shorelines. Most western European populations are fairly sedentary, whereas eastern European populations are migratory, spending their winters in Africa.

Little Egret, ©Ferruccio Zanone, via Flickr Creative Commons.

Little Egret painting.
Hmm, not too shabby and I even (just about) managed to do something with the feet.

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