Feeding behaviour of herons: 4. Little Egret

on 18th February 2011

The earlier series can be accessed HERE, HERE and HERE.

“The Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) were numerous at this site, at least 150 and quite likely more (above). Again this type of fishing behaviour has not been described in print literature. Dr David R Wells (The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Volume 1, 1999) describes their feeding behaviour as ‘forages individually but roosts gregariously’. More often foraging in ‘shallow water’. This large crowd was feeding companionably alongside the other egret species and herons all over the large pond.

“These were the most successful ‘fishermen’ with a high rate of capture. Their technique is more refined than the Chinese Pond Heron. The Little Egrets are elegant fliers, they glide over water with little effort and scan for fish (above left). They then scoop up the catch with hardly a splash. They seem to like to trail their feet in the water (above right), and I wonder if this is fishing technique to push the prey forward?

“There were many but kept their distance; had to really hide and capture images from a distance.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Tambun Interior, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Ex-mining pool adjacent to limestone hills and secondary growth
30th December 2010 (also 01/01/2011)

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.

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