Great White Egret
The great egret is known by other names such as great white or common egret. One of the most widely-distributed birds in the temperate and warm tropical belts of the world, it thrives in the South American rainforests and the southern states of the U.S. It is most commonly confused with the great white heron.
They generally feed alone not in large groups like this one
White (common) egrets feeding, flying, stalking
Their staple diet consists of fish, but they also eat small birds and mammals, reptiles, insects, and amphibians, especially in dry seasons. They generally feed alone in shallow water by standing motionless and then catching their prey unawares, swooping down with their long necks and swallowing the prey whole using a quick thrust of their bill. They also stalk their prey and then kill it instantly with the bill when it approaches within a striking distance.
White egret feeding on frog
They were once hunted for their white plumage which were used for ornamental purposes. This saw a sharp decline in their population, almost by 95%. Laws were passed to save the bird from extinction, and the species saw a significant population growth. This increase saw the birds adapting themselves to live in areas close to human dwelling. But wetland destruction by humans and also by forces of nature like droughts and famines is gradually costing the egrets their habitat. The National Audubon Society has adopted the flying great egret as its symbol. The society was originally formed to preserve the dwindling numbers and is now dedicated to environmental conservation.