Birds of Switzerland
    back
    share page

    Great Egret

    Egretta alba

    Information

    The population of the formerly very rare Great Egret has increased noticeably since the middle of the 20th century. As with the Little Egret, the use of its up to 50 cm long decorative plumes in ladies' fashion in the 19th century almost caused it to become extinct. In Switzerland, the Great Egret can be seen especially in autumn and in winter. It slowly wades through shallow water on the edge of large reedbeds where, from time to time, it quickly jabs little fish with its beak.

    Voice

    Status (in CH)
    extremely rare breeder, regular, scarce migrant and winter visitor, local summer visitor
    Annual cycle
    The bar on the top line indicates during which seasons the species can be observed regularly in Switzerland. There can be great seasonal fluctuations of numbers. The middle bar indicates the typical migration seasons of a species. The bottom bar indicates the period during which the species normally breeds. As a rule it spans the period from egg-laying to fledging of the young.
    Annual cycle
    Annual cycle

    Facts

    Population size in Switzerland (Pairs)
    0 - 1 (2011-2015)
    Migration behaviour
    predominantly short-distance migrant
    Diurnal/nocturnal migrant
    Diurnal migrant
    Length (cm)
    85-102
    wing span (cm)
    140-170
    Weight (g)
    950-1050
    Nest site
    reed
    Food
    fish, small mammals, amphibians
    Group
    Herons and Bitterns
    Habitat
    wetlands, lakes, rivers & streams, farmland
    Distribution
    Distribution
    Distribution