Great White Egret

(Casmerodius albus)




Facts about this animal

The length of the great white egret is about 95 cm. It is an unmistakable bird, much larger then all other white egrets.

The plumage is white with fine feathers on the back. The bill of adults is yellow becoming temporarily black during the immediate pre-breeding period. Legs and feet are wholly black.

The great white egret roosts in groups, but is otherwise a rather solitary bird except when breeding. It hunts for fish, insects, frogs and small animals, which are taken by standing still and waiting, or by wading in shallow water.

Did you know?
that this species is also sometimes placed either in the genus Egretta or Ardea?


Class AVES
Suborder ARDEAE
Name (Scientific) Casmerodius albus
Name (English) Great White Egret
Name (French) Grande aigrette
Name (German) Silberreiher
Name (Spanish) Garza blanca
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Appendix II (only Casmerodius albus albus (Western Palearctic populations))



Photo Copyright by
Mike Baird



Range Widely distributed throughout the world.
Habitat Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands, Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) Rocky Shores, Sand, Shingle or Pebble Shores, Intertidal Marshes
Wild population Not globally threatened. Intense persecution for plume trade in the 19th and the early 20th centuries led to a crash in numbers and a shrinking of the range, but has now almost recovered to former numbers. The destruction of wetlands poses a current threat to these birds.
Zoo population 100 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Great White Egret


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Mila Zinkova

Why do zoos keep this animal

The great white egret is not a threatened species, and zoos do not maintain coordinated breeding programmes. It is mainly kept for educational purposes and for promoting wetland conservation, ideally in mixed exhibits (walk-thru aviaries).