GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
Location: Merritt Island NWR
Photo: © 2003 Jeff Berger
The slender and flowing Great Egret is an unmistakable presence in any wetlands environment. This large bird stands over three feet tall, decked in pure white feathers, a yellow pointed bill, and black legs and feet.
During the breeding season, long and lacy plumes extend beyond the lower back and tail. During flight, the Great Egret will fold its long neck into a characteristic S-curve, which gracefully unfurls as it glides to a landing on outstretched wings. To protect their nests from terrestrial predators, Great Egrets prefer the company of alligators.