A great egret looks for breakfast at Calamvale Creek


Scientific stuff

Great egret

Ardea alba
75-90 centimetres (two-and-a-half to 3 feet)

The great, or large, egret is the largest of the five egret species in Australia. It has white feathers, a yellow and black bill that extends below and behind its eyes, dark legs, and a distinctive kink in its long neck.

When resting standing up, it may hunch its neck so that the kink is not clearly visible.

Patient, as it can stand motionless in water for a long time waiting for prey to come by.

Using our photos

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Eddy's photos

Eddy didn't mind having his photo taken, although he didn't come terribly close to the camera.

The photographer said:
“Eddy was a great subject for photos because he stood still or moved slowly for long periods while waiting for or stalking his prey. He always seemed to be concentrating on what was in the water instead of worrying about me taking photos.

“He obviously likes being with the other water birds — the cormorants, ducks, moorhens, and night heron.

“He isn't at the creek all the time, and disappeared shortly after the creek flooded on January 25, 2007, only to return a few days after the next flood on April 22.

“I couldn't get very close to him, as he always seemed to be on the other side of the creek from where I was. Nevertheless, I got some good photos of him.”

Critters of Calamvale Creek

Eddy the great white egret

Ardea alba

great_egret1 (13K)Hello readers. My name is Eddy, and I am a great egret.

I have a few favourite places in the creek to look for food, and they are all where the water level rises no higher than my knees.

I can stand motionless for a long time as I wait for fish, tiny crustaceans, amphibians and aquatic insects to come along.

great_egret3 (15K)

I often stay near the water's edge because I can get a clear view of what's in the shallow water.

I can react quickly, and you should see me move when a good meal swims by.

I look good in photos — that's me in the photo across the top of every page of this website.

Where do I sleep?

I used to sleep in a tree in the park at the edge of Golden Avenue, about 4 metres (12 feet) above the ground. But I had to move when some teenage boys threw sticks at me one night. I moved to a tree overhanging the creek near the cormorants' resting spot.

great_egret4 (15K)I sometimes rest standing up — on both legs, not one leg like a stork.

You can see by the photo at right that I hunch my neck when I take a standing nap.

People sometimes think I am a different type of bird when they see me like this, because they can no longer see my long, slender neck with the kink in it.

Frequent visitor

Like most of the large waterbirds around here, I don't stay all the time. I visit other wetlands and come back to Calamvale Creek and Golden Pond for varying lengths of time.

The photo below shows me in the riparian wetland on my first day back after being away for three months.

Ardea_alba_5 (28K)

My friends at Calamvale Creek

great_egret2 (17K)I get along with other types of water birds, and although I hunt alone, I am usually seen in the company of the creek's cormorants, ducks, moorhens, ibises, and Ruth the rufous night heron. I stay at the creek as long as there is enough food.

— Eddy the great white egret