Little Egret Egretta garzetta (Linnaeus, 1766)

Order: Pelecaniformes Family: Ardeidae Status: Vagrant to Madeira

Egretta garzetta Biometrics

Wingspan: 90 - 105 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Total length: 55 - 65 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Weight: 400 - 600 g (Hume, 2002)

Recommended birdwatching tours to watch this bird

This bird is more commonly watched between October and March though it may be seen all year around on the following Wind Birds's tours:
Half-day Birdwatching

Little Egret Field ID Keys

Shape & Size

A medium-small, elegant, white egret with a slender neck, thin bill and long legs.

Colour Pattern

All white plumage with black legs and bill and yellow feet.


Commonly seen in small groups and they tend to form evening roosts in traditional spots. When in flight it keeps its neck shrunken.


Associated with water, this species prefers shallow lakes or ponds, gently flowing rivers or streams and also brackish to saline estuaries or coasts (Cramp et al., 1977). Occasionally feeds in dry grassland not far from water. (Beaman & Madge, 2011)

Distinction from similar species

It may be confused with a Cattle Egret though this one has a stockier body and a pale (yellow) bill. Also the Great White Egret may be a confusion species although its much bigger size and longer legs with dark feet will distinguish it from a Little Egret.

Egretta garzetta Biometrics

Wingspan: 90 - 105 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Total length: 55 - 69 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Weight: 400 - 600 g (Hume, 2002)

Other Bird Facts

Seasonality in Madeira: In Madeira it can be observed all year around though the greater numbers of this species occur during the cooler season, between October and March.
Breeding: Although it may be seen throughout the year, there are no evidences of breeding in Madeira archipelago. It is a wide spread species in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia continents. It has a single brood of 3 or 4 eggs between April and July.
Diet: Mainly small fish, small amphibians, terrestrial and aquatic insects but also crustaceans, lizards, snails, small mammals and snakes (Cramp et al., 1977).


Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Frequent
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Frequent
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Frequent
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Least Concern ver 3.1

Name of this species in other languages

Portuguese: Garça-branca-pequena
German: Seidenreiher
Dutch: Kleine Zilverreiger
Swedish: Silkeshäger
Danish: Silkehejre
Finish: Silkkihaikara
Norwegian: Silkehegre
Spanish: Garceta común
French: Aigrette garzette
Italian: Garzetta
Polish: Czapla nadobna
Slovak: Beluša malá
Czech: Volavka stříbřitá

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