Little Egret - Egretta garzetta


    The Little Egret is a small white heron with attractive white plumes on its crest, back and chest, and with black legs and bill and yellow feet. It first appeared in the UK in significant numbers in 1989 and first bred in Dorset in 1996. Its colonisation followed naturally from a range expansion into western and northern France in previous decades. It is now at home on numerous south coast sites, both as a breeding species and as a winter visitor and is expanding northwards. It is included on the Amber List as a rare breeding species.

    Identification difficulty

    A recent colonist, it is most common along the south and east coasts of England, and in Wales. The estuaries of Devon and Cornwall; Poole Harbour and Chichester Harbour hold some of the largest concentrations and they are also common in East Anglia. They are an increasingly common sight in inland areas too.

    When to see it

    All year round, although numbers increase in autumn and winter as birds arrive from the Continent.

    Life History

    This egret stalks its prey in shallow water, often running with raised wings or shuffling its feet. It may also stand still and wait to ambush prey, such as fish and frogs.

    UK Status

    Uncommon in Britain, with most records coming from the southern half of the country

    VC55 Status

    A scarce summer bird of passage in Leicestershire and Rutland

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map