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Great White Egret

Great White Egret
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-05-05
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2011-07-04 8:00
Viewed: 5252
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 76
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Like some others of my latest photos this one is taken from a boat in Djoudj, Senegal.

The Great Egret (Ardea alba), also known as the Great White Egret or Common Egret, White Heron, or (now not in use) Great White Heron, is a large, widely-distributed egret. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world, in southern Europe it is rather localized. In North America it is more widely distributed, and it is ubiquitous across the Sun Belt of the United States and in the rainforests of South America. It is sometimes confused with the Great White Heron in Florida, which is a white morph of the closely related Great Blue Heron (A. herodias). Note, however, that the name Great White Heron has occasionally been used to refer to the Great Egret.

The Great Egret is a large bird with all-white plumage that can reach one meter in height, weigh up to 950 grams and a wingspan of 165 to 215 cm (65 to 85 in). It is thus only slightly smaller than the Great Blue or Grey Heron (A. cinerea). Apart from size, the Great Egret can be distinguished from other white egrets by its yellow bill and black legs and feet, though the bill may become darker and the lower legs lighter in the breeding season. In breeding plumage, delicate ornamental feathers are borne on the back. Males and females are identical in appearance; juveniles look like non-breeding adults. It is a common species, usually easily seen.

It has a slow flight, with its neck retracted. This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, cranes, ibises, and spoonbills, which extend their necks in flight.
The Great Egret is not normally a vocal bird; at breeding colonies, however, it often gives a loud croaking cuk cuk cuk.

Systematics and taxonomy
Like all egrets, it is a member of the heron family, Ardeidae. Traditionally classified with the storks in the Ciconiiformes, the Ardeidae are closer relatives of pelicans and belong in the Pelecaniformes instead. The Great Egret—unlike the typical egrets—does not belong to the genus Egretta but together with the great herons is today placed in Ardea. In the past, however, it was sometimes placed in Egretta or separated in a monotypic genus Casmerodius.

There were four subspecies in various parts of the world, which differ but little. Differences are bare part coloration in the breeding season and size; the largest A. a. modesta from Asia and Australasia is now considered a full species, the Eastern Great Egret (Ardea modesta). The remaining three subspecies are:
• Ardea alba alba (Europe)
• Ardea alba egretta (Americas)
• Ardea alba melanorhynchos (Africa)

Ecology and status
The Great Egret is partially migratory, with northern hemisphere birds moving south from areas with colder winters. It breeds in colonies in trees close to large lakes with reed beds or other extensive wetlands. It builds a bulky stick nest.

The Great Egret is generally a very successful species with a large and expanding range. In North America, large numbers of Great Egrets were killed around the end of the 19th century so that their plumes could be used to decorate hats. Numbers have since recovered as a result of conservation measures. Its range has expanded as far north as southern Canada. However, in some parts of the southern United States, its numbers have declined due to habitat loss. Nevertheless, it adapts well to human habitation and can be readily seen near wetlands and bodies of water in urban and suburban areas. In 1953 the Great Egret in flight was chosen as the symbol of the National Audubon Society, which was formed in part to prevent the killing of birds for their feathers.

The Great Egret is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

The Great Egret feeds in shallow water or drier habitats, feeding mainly on fish, frogs, small mammals, and occasionally small reptiles and insects, spearing them with its long, sharp bill most of the time by standing still and allowing the prey to come within its striking distance of its bill which it uses as a spear. It will often wait motionless for prey, or slowly stalk its victim.
Though it might appear that they feed on the parasites of African buffaloes, they actually feed on leafhoppers, grasshoppers and other insects which are stirred open as buffaloes move about in water.

Source: Wikipedia

PaulLees, bungbing, joska, maaciejka, jusninasirun, jlinaresp, maurydv, siggi, CeltickRanger, mikou, marius-secan, anel, Mamagolo2, Argus, Miss_Piggy, Luis52, indrasish has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

hallo Peter
mooie opname zo in vlucht
super scherp goede details en mooi van kleur
bedankt groetjes lou

Hi Peter,

Wow what a fabulous Great White Egret in flight shot my friend, splendid and majestic pose taken just at the right moment and well done, sharpness and exposure spot on!, great work Peter and have a nice evening,
Best regards,


Hello Peter,
Fantastic flight shot of the Great White Egret with superb sharpness and detials in the plumage, excellent depth of field, great composition and point of view,
Thanks for sharing and have a nice evening,
Best Regards,

  • Great 
  • joska Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 806 W: 0 N: 4092] (22535)
  • [2011-07-04 8:29]

Hi Peter,
Splendid photo of this Great Egret from Senegal, TFS!

Ciao Peter, great capture of beautiful egret in fantastic fly, perfect focus, nice blurry BG, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

Superb, excellent moment, good detail. regards yiannis

Hi Peter,
really excellent sharpness exactly on this flying bird! Great dynamic shot! Nice natural colours. Suitable background.
Thanks for sharing,

It's a lovely capture Peter ..... lovely capture with superb level of brightness and contrast and a capture with fine depth of field too! Love the dark sky in the background and the outstanding clarity of the Great White Egret! Bravo!
George Veltchev

I am amazed with the flight pattern and details in this capture, Peter. Perfectly framed action in flight capture and yet keeping the details intact in the frame. The light on the white feather is glorious and an instant favorite for me here.
Thanks and have a great week,

  • Great 
  • ana974 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 477 W: 48 N: 968] (4857)
  • [2011-07-04 11:12]

Wow dear Peter! What a great action shot with superb sharpness and amazing balance of lightness.I love the fine detaisl of the wonderful bird.Great job! TFS
Nice evening!

Perfect timing and impressive photo Peter!! Excellent composition, wonderful colours and good sharpness .

Hello Peter friend!
Beautiful and majestic, and a perfectly frozen bird in flight! ... Congratulations and thank you for this picture!
Regards, TFS

Hello Peter,
Perfect capture of this egret who just took off. Great focus, fine details and natural colours. Well done!

Hallo Peter,
what a beautiful capture of the Great Egret in flight, superb sharpness and beautiful colours, excellent point of view and composition
Besty regards

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2011-07-04 12:41]

Hello Peter,
Great in-flight shot of the Great Egret, well composed and a superb pose, good details and the bird is nicely isolated from the OOF BG.Best regards Siggi

Hello Peter

WOW ! excellent in-flight shot of the Great White Egret,
very fine POV and framing, superbly focused
with great sharpness and details, TFS


Hi Peter,
Beautiful in-flight shot of this egret.
Great POV, sharp details, excellent light.

very good fly capture Peter, congratulations !

excellent details on bird,

have a nice day,

ciao, tino

  • Great 
  • ABON Silver Note Writer [C: 2 W: 0 N: 17] (104)
  • [2011-07-05 1:39]

Hi Peter,

The sharpness is unbelievable. What a great shot!


  • Great 
  • mikou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 869 W: 68 N: 1479] (6093)
  • [2011-07-05 6:44]

Hi Peter.
Excellent flight shot, really. Very nice pose wings. Perfect sharp details in plumage and very nice natural colors. I like it. Great job! Thanks for sharing. Have a nice day.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2011-07-05 8:24]

Hi Peter,a great capture from the waters of Djoudj,magnificent in flight pic whit an impressive light balance for the best white and an fantastic sharpness and position.Thanks for share,have a nice evening,Luciano.

Hello Peter,
Once again you take a perfect shot with amazing clarity, fantastic details and great POV.
Very difficult shot....truly amazing. I tied many times but with no success to catch such an exceptional capture.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2011-07-05 12:37]

Hello Peter,
What a funny flying bird ..and I see that you have taken this shot from a boat. Tous mes compliments!
Interesting and original picture of a flying Egret, excellent management of white. Nice colors in the background too.
Take care!

WOW Peter, what a stunning image of this beautiful Great White Egret. This is what my dreams are filled with.(hahaha) Excelent clarity and sharp detail. The bird stands out against the fading background and makes it more appealing to me. Very well done and tfs.

Hello Peter
compliments for the beautiful photography, great clarity and dynamism.
Beautiful natural colors and POV
Thanks for sharing
Hello Vanni

Hello Peter,
very good capture of this Great White Egret beeing airborne. Great sharpness with many details and a nice pose.
Best wishes,

What a fantastic shot! Excellent eye and feather detail for a in-flight capture. Great DOF and POV.

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2011-07-06 3:23]

Hi Peter,
Really nice and excellent photo of flying bird.Nice natural colours good composition and details.
Regards Jiri.

Ciao Peter. Great dynamic shot MF and stunning details. exciting contrast against the blurred BG.


Prachtig shot van deze zilver reiger Peter.
hij doet zijn naam eer aan in dit licht
Fantastische scherpte, Prachtige kleuren, Prima compositie en een mooie wazige achtergrond.

TFS Thijs

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2011-07-06 11:10]

Hello Peter,
Fine POV, excellent sharpness against a natural blurred BG, natural colours and lighting contribute to a superb well composed in-flight of a Great White Egret.
Thanks and best regards,

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2011-07-07 5:03]

Hello Peter,
wow..this is a real stunner! superb sharpness and excellent moment. Well frozen movement and a fabulous in-flight capture. I know how difficult to have this shot, with the skills you got you presented us with a top class composition.
wonderful in every aspects.


Delicado trabajo Peter, de exquisitas luces y colores.
Realmente impresionante... te pone en la escena.
Un abrazo: J. Ignasi.

Hallo Peter
What a perfect example of grace and perfection is this Great Egret in flight? Wow what a beautiful image. You have captured its streamline posture so beautifully, showing the details so well. The yellow eye and bill and the pitch black shiny paws is a stunning vision and displays so well against the fuzzy backdrop. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2011-07-09 9:41]

Hola Peter.
Like this one better.
Great photo. L lot of fine details to see here. Very natural colors and light.

  • Great 
  • Medina (117)
  • [2011-07-11 1:06]

hello Peter,
The details of the photo are so good. Well done job..



Peter, great shot of this egret in flight. Excellent sharpness and detail. Have a wonderful day, Bill

Dear Peter,
Excellent shot of this flying bird.. Like the blurred background.. Superb image quality and nice colors too.. Very well done my friend..
Best wishes from India,
Warm regards,

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