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).