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Dieren en planten

Fish   Herons   Grey heron   Little egret   Bittern   Fauna in tidal areas   Fish   Freshwater fish   Other birds   

Little egret


55-65 centimeters
wingspan: 88-95 centimeters

color (adult):

totally white, with the exception of black-tipped beak, black legs and yellow toes


fish, amphibians, crabs, shrimp and other crustaceans, insects


used to be hunted for their decorative feathers

Dutch status:

nesting bird


shallow water in water-rich regions; inland or along the coast


maturity: age 2
number of eggs: 3-5


average of 5 years, maximum 22 years

special features:

often runs after its prey with wide open wings

  • Dut: Kleine zilverreiger
  • Eng: White egret
  • Ger: Silberreiher
  • Lat: Egretta garzetta
, Rein Jansen

Little egret

Little egrets like to hunt under water. They creep along the edge of the water and suddenly attack small animals hiding in the mud by shuffling their legs. Some people say that the egrets lure the small fish by wiggling their very yellow toes. Little egrets used to be a rarity in the Netherlands. There were many in the 17th century but were exterminated or fled from the cold during the lesser glacial period. It took till 1999 for the first nest to succeed in the Netherlands. The birds probably profit now from climate change. These southern birds feel very much at home thanks to the warmer weather.

  • Nests in the wadden region
    Little egret, foto fitis, adriaan dijksen

    In 2008, at least 16 pairs of little egrets nested on the wadden islands, primarily on Schiermonnikoog.

  • Protection
    Little egret, W.J. Phaff
    • Monitoring: Network Ecological Monitoring
    • Policy: Target Species List
    • National legislation: Flora and Fauna Regulation
    • European Agreement: Bird Directive, CITES ordinance
    • International: Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), Bern Convention