“On the evening of 21st February 2012, I was delighted to observe four Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) fishing along a canal before the setting of the sun (above). They were pacing up and down a certain stretch of the canal, attempting to catch as many fish as they could for their last meal of the day. While pursuing the fish, the egrets would frequently flap their wings frantically, probably frightening the fish with such sudden flashes of white feathers. The strategy of foot tapping was also witnessed. Apart from fishing, the egrets were also observed to be drinking, preening, defecating, with frequent squabbling among themselves. A brief video clip of their behaviour may be previewed here (below).
“Common and widespread as they may seem, studies on the feeding ecology of Little Egrets can reveal interesting aspects of their diet and feeding ecology. Along the intertidal mudflats in Hong Kong, detailed observations of 30 Little Egrets revealed that their prey items included gobies, shrimp, crabs, nereid worms and other benthic invertebrates (Wong et al., 2000).”
Wong, L. C., R. T. Corlett, L. Young & J. S. Y. Lee, 2000. Comparative feeding ecology of Little Egrets on intertidal mudflats in Hong Kong, South China. Waterbirds: The International Journal of Waterbird Biology, 23(2): 214–225.
Dr Leong Tzi Ming
27th February 2012