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great egret-ardea alba

Egret Encounters on Everglades Holiday Park Airboat Tours

Great egret (Ardea alba)
Egrets are birds from the genera Egretta or Ardea, which include herons as well, both staple sights on a Everglades airboat tour. The distinction between herons and egrets is vague, depending more on appearance than biology. Many types of egret can be spotted during Everglades boat tours, including the snowy egret, cattle egret, reddish egret and the common or great egret.

Habitat

Egrets are found in temperate and marshy regions, and are known for nesting in colonies, perfect conditions for spotting from an Everglades boat. These colonies commonly inhabit marshes, lakes, humid forests and other wetland environments. They build large nests in trees and bushes or on the ground which can often be spotted on an Everglades boat tours.

Size & Appearance

Most egrets have white or buff colored plumage and grow lengthy distinctive, fine plumes for mating seasons. They are long-legged wading birds with long necks, slender bodies and dagger like bills. Egrets’ tails are so short that they appear to be without any. They often hold their long necks in an “S” shape, with their head pulled between the shoulders – even in flight, keep an eye out for this on Everglades tours .

Diet

As wading birds, most egrets’ diets consist of small fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects, mammals and crustaceans in shallow waters. group airboat tours and private airboat tours can even catch them having a meal at times!

Fun Facts

  • Before their legal protection, these birds were brought to the brink of extinction by 19th century hunters after their valuable plumage for use in women’s hats. Thanks to regulations put in place they can still be spotted on your Everglades excursion .
  • The great egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society, one of the oldest environmental organizations in America. And for visitors taking Miami airboat tours it's no wonder why they would choose such a beautiful animal.
  • The oldest known egret was 22 years, 10 months old. Older than some of the guests who have taken Everglades National Park airboat tours!
  • The name “egret” was derived from the French word “aigrette” – meaning “silver heron” or “brush.” Many French visitors on our Everglades National Park boat tours have pointed out this fact.
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