General Description

Body completely white, legs black. Facial skin and bill are yellow. During the breeding season, the skin becomes green and the bill becomes black. Long feathers (nuptial plumes) also appear, hanging down the lower back and legs. Bill to tail length is up to 1 m. Is similar to the other white egrets in Australia, but can be identified by its neck length, which is longer than the body.


Eastern Great Egrets make a harsh croaking sound when calling. They extend their legs straight behind the body when flying. At night, they roost in groups. They normally feed alone, eating fish, crustaceans, molluscs, insects, small reptiles and frogs. They hunt by wading through the water, stabbing at prey with their bill. Egrets breed in mixed species colonies, commonly with other egret species. Both males and females build the nest, which is a platform made of sticks located in a tree above water. They may re-use nests from previous years. The usual clutch size is two to three eggs, which are incubated and then cared for by both parents. It is Australia's largest egret.


South-eastern, south-western and northern mainland Australia and Tasmania.


Freshwater wetlands and swamps.

More Information