Little Egret

Egretta garzetta


The Little Egret is a small, white heron which feeds on small fish and crustaceans. Once a very rare visitor from the Mediterranean, Little Egrets are now a common sight around the coasts of southern England and Wales as they expand their range, possibly due to climate change. It first bred in the UK on Brownsea Island, Dorset, in 1996, and has been moving northwards ever since; it was recorded as breeding in Berkshire for the first time in 2007.

How to identify

The Little Egret is a white heron with black legs and yellow feet. It has a black bill and long plumes on its head and neck during the breeding season.

Where to find it

Found around the coasts and estuaries of England and Wales, more rarely in Scotland and inland.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

With the effects of climate change becoming more apparent - from unseasonal flooding to warmer winters - it is quite likely that more wildlife will be able to expand its range. This might be good for those species that are threatened, but it may cause competition between species and unbalance natural habitats. The Wildlife Trusts are working with other organisations and individuals to create a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats stretching across town and country, allowing wildlife to adapt to climate change and move about freely, and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Local information

From the large hide at Chimney Meadows that overlooks the newly developed wetland area you may see feeding little egret along with other birds, such as cormorant and kingfisher. Chimney Meadows is a nature reserve within the Upper Thames Living Landscape project area. This is one of BBOWT's Living Landscape projects to restore, recreate and manage a mosaic of habitats which are linked by 'corridors'. These projects will benefit a wide variety of wildlife. You may also see little egret feeding in the chalk stream at Letcombe Valley nature reserve.

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Species information

Common name
Little Egret
Latin name
Egretta garzetta
Herons, egrets and spoonbill
Length: 60cm Wingspan: 92cm Weight: 450g
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.