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Little Egrets

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2020

   
 
     
 

The little egret is a small, white heron that feeds on small fish and crustaceans. Once a very rare visitor from the Mediterranean, little egrets are now a common sight around the coasts of southern England and Wales as they expand their range, possibly due to increasing temperatures caused by climate change.

It first bred in the UK on Brownsea Island, Dorset, in 1996, and has been moving northwards ever since; it was recorded as breeding in Berkshire for the first time in 2007.

During courtship, grey lores become pink-red. Eye yellow in all seasons. Two, slender, white feathers on back of head during summer. Flies with deep, slow wingbeats.

The elegant neck plumes of an egret in breeding plumage were once more valuable than gold, smuggled into Europe for hat decorations, they fetched £15 an ounce or 28g (about £875 at 2000 prices), each Little Egret producing about 1g of plumes.

Little egrets are mostly silent but make various croaking and bubbling calls at their breeding colonies and produce a harsh alarm call when disturbed.

     
 
     
 
     
 
     
 
     
     
 
     
 
     
 
     
     
 
     
 
     
     
 
     

2021

   
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