Egret & Bittern (Ardeidae)

Appearance
There are 5 species of Egret and 2 species of Bittern found in Kenya. They share their family name (Ardeidae) with Herons.
Sizes of Egret and Bittern vary, from the diminutive Dwarf Bittern, at 12" (30cm) to the Great Egret, at 36" (90cm). The two Bitterns have striped underparts. With the exception of the Dimorphic Egret, Egrets are generally white, or off-white birds and smaller than Herons.

Habits
Bitterns are secretive birds, using the colour and pattern of their plumage to blend with their surroundings. Egrets are less shy, but some are solitary, while others are seen in large flocks.

Diet
Bitterns eat invertebrates (grasshoppers, spiders, worms, crustaceans and molluscs), small vertebrates (fish, frogs and tadpoles) and small reptiles, birds and their eggs. Egrets have a very varied diet, depending on their habitat. The Great Egret eats mainly fish, but also amphibians, reptiles, mice, and other small animals.

Resident
Bitterns are seen in Kenya's marshland and freshwater areas, while Egrets are seen in both fresh and saltwater areas, as well as grasslands.

Extra Egret & Bittern Facts
The name "Egret" comes from the French "aigrette", meaning "Heron".

Photographs
Photographed at Kenya's Lake Baringo, Meru NP and Mfangano Island (Lake Victoria).

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Dimorphic Egret

Dimorphic Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

Little Bittern

Little Bittern

Little Egret

Little Egret