restricted access Wetland white egrets
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Yellow-billed Egret L: 70 cm (28") |WS: 105–115 cm (41–45") Similar to Great Egret, this bird is smaller with a less coiled neck, and a relatively shorter bill; the gape line stops beneath the eye instead of extending farther back . The bill is always yellow and the upper half of the leg is often greenish-yellow . An uncommon visitor to Kruger, absent in drier years, it prefers flooded grassland and damp areas that are more widespread during the December to March rains . Although it prefers hunting fishes, frogs and insects, it has been recorded eating nestling bishops (page 154) . Wetland white egrets great egret yellow-billed egret little egret great egret non-breeding yellow-billed egret little egret non-breeding little egret non-breeding great egret non-breeding NB note gape lines All three species can occur together. 22 Great Egret L: 92 cm (36") |WS: 131–170 cm (52–67") Egrets are long-legged, long-necked wading birds, that look like white herons . The largest white egret, the Great Egret, is the size of a Grey Heron (page 21) . It is similar to the smaller Yellow-billed Egret, but the long neck is often held in a kinked ‘S’-shape, and the line of the bill opening (the gape) extends behind the eye – a useful feature at close range . The large dagger-like bill is yellow in non-breeding plumage and black when breeding, when the bird also has a ‘cloak’ of long, fine, wispy plumes over its back . Its legs are blackish or greenishyellow above the joint . This is a widespread and common resident of Kruger’s dams and rivers . Little Egret L: 64 cm (25") | WS: 88–106 cm (35–42") This medium-sized, sleek and elongated white egret has a fine plume on the head, a slender black bill (never yellow) and blackish legs with characteristic bright yellow feet . It is a fairly common and widespread Kruger resident, although numbers may fluctuate depending on local conditions . When feeding, it moves quickly, with agility and dexterity, using its feet to flush aquatic prey in shallow water, and darting about in pursuit . Occasionally it wiggles its yellow toes underwater, either to disturb prey or to lure it closer . In shallow waters it has been known to look for an easy meal by following Hippopotamuses, spoonbills or cormorants that may disturb prey . BIRDS OF RIVERS AND WETLANDS breeding breeding 23 ...