SNOWY EGRET


Egretta thula


Description:

These pretty birds have a unique way of fishing. They stir the water with their yellow feet to attract the fish. Then, when the fish or crustaceans are near, the bird strikes. Because both sexes are similiar, each bird must identify itself when returning to the nest by performing an elaborate dance, which includes raising its head plumage.

In May 2000 I viewed a large number of Snowy Egrets breeding in the treetops at the Wild Animal Park. I do not know if this is an annual event, but it was fascinating to see.


Appearance:

All white with black bill and long black legs. Yellow feet and patch between eye and bill. Yellow eyes. Sexes similiar. 22 to 25 inches in length.


Habitat:

Marshes, lakes, and ponds.


Nesting:

3-5 pale blue-green eggs with an incubation period of 20-24 days. Fledging occurs 30 days after hatching. The nest consists of a platform of sticks made high up in a tree, in a reedbed, or on the ground. Nests in large colonies, often with other egret and heron species.


Observed Locations:

  • Lake Murray, La Mesa
  • Santee Lakes, Santee
  • Famosa Slough, San Diego
  • San Diego River Flood Control Channel, San Diego
  • Wild Animal Park, Escondido
  • Lindo Lake, Lakeside





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.