Great Egrets are tall, long-legged wading birds with long S-shaped necks and long pointed bills. They have an impressive wingspan. During flight, the neck is tucked in and the legs stick out past the tip of the short tail. Their feathers are all white and their bills are yellowish-orange. Their feet and legs are black. They are a little smaller than a Great Blue Heron and much larger than a Snowy Egret. Great Egrets wade in shallow fresh or salt water to hunt fish, frogs, and other small aquatic animals. Great Egrets nest in large colonies. During breeding season a patch of skin on the face turns neon green and long plumes grow from the back. They build stick nests high in trees to avoid raccoons and other predators. Great Egrets were almost hunted to extinction for their plumes in the late nineteenth century, which led to some of the first laws to protect birds. The Great Egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society.
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