Foraging behaviour of the Little Egret

on 14th October 2009

SK Foo was at the the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 28th December 2008 at 0948 hours when he documented the foraging behaviour of the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta).

“This is a rather common bird in the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. It is easy to tell a Little Egret from other egrets by its yellow feet (some locals refer to them as Phua Chu Kang boots).

“Sometimes when I am waiting for ‘star’ birds to appear, a Little Egret may just appear nearby foraging for food, keeping me occupied.

“I noted that in shallow water, a Little Egret would use one of its legs to dab the area in front of it while keeping its body close to the water (above). When the prey appeared from its hiding place, the egret would strike at it with great accuracy.

“Yesterday I went to the reserve to look for Johnson Duck, sorry I meant Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) (a rare bird!). In the later part of the evening, I joined some friends at the Main Bridge. As the tide went lower, drama started to unfold underneath the bridge. Most interestingly, a pair of Malayan Water Monitor Lizards was seen doing “tango” or “wrestling”, a White-breasted Water-hen (Amaurornis phoenicurus ) with its cute black fur chick and Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) having a feeding frenzy!

“This round, perhaps the fishes were bigger, the egrets would fly from the edges of the river towards the fishes, swooshed down to catch them with their bills, swallowing them as they flew back to the edges of the river. Naturally, one fish at a time and with great success rate too…”

Image by SK Foo.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

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