Sunday Shot: Little Egret In-flight – Birding In Goa

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The little Egret bird (Egretta Garzetta) is a small white heron, also called yellow-footed egret. You may notice that the foot is yellow in color. They are commonly seen near water bodies and fields. This one was flying, as usual with a retracted neck, across the paddy fields of Taleigao, Goa.

Little Egret in-flight
Little Egret in-flight

Little Egret Bird-in-flight

Often seen standing still in shallow waters to spot the fish, they are usually seen in groups. Can be seen in large numbers occupying positions along the Mandovi river bed as the water recedes, in the company of Great Egrets, Pond Herons, and Grey Herons all competing side by side for the prized catch – the fish.

About the Bird

It is a white bird with a slender black beak, long black legs, and yellow feet. As an aquatic bird, it feeds in shallow water and on land, consuming a variety of small creatures. It breeds colonially. Often with other species of water birds, making a platform nest of sticks in a tree, bush, or reed bed.

The adult bird is about 55–65 cm long with an 88–106 cm wingspan and weighs 350–550 gm. Its habitat varies widely from the shores of lakes, rivers, canals, ponds, lagoons, and marshes. It prefers open locations compared to dense cover. On the coastal areas, it inhabits mangrove areas, swamps, mudflats, sandy beaches, and reefs. Most often sighted in the rice fields in small flocks. They often move about among cattle in these fields.

They are carnivores and reportedly their diet consists of small fish, frogs, insects, and crustaceans and also eat small mammals, reptiles, and birds. Little egrets are opportunistic feeders and will take advantage of any food source that is available.

Flying in Tandem

It is a lovely sight to watch a large number of them flying in tandem at sunset. To reach the safety of the treetop resting place near the water bodies. Little Egret’s in-flight pose demonstrates their flying prowess, balance, and keen eye in the direction. It is delightful to photograph them, especially when in flight.

Recommend you read the following travel blog on birding & bird photography.

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