Egretta garzetta   Linnaeus,  1758 (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: Angus Wilson

Size: 55-63 cm; Length: 55-65 cm

Color: white. Dark morph varies from bluish grey to black. Long plumes on head neck and back when breeding. Immature like non-breeding adult. Bare parts: iris yellow, orange in breeding birds; lores greyish green, orange to purplish in breeding birds; bill black with pale horn on basal half of mandible; feet and legs: legs black, orange to red in breeding birds; feet yellow.

Voice: Usually silent.

Habits: Generally found in flocks, more gregarious than the two large species, roost communally on trees, breeds in colonies, often in mixed heronries from July to September.

Adult: Sexes alike. A pure white bird like the other egrets, but smaller with black bill and legs, and yellow feet. Breeding (July-September): A drooping nuchal crest of two long narrow plumes; filamentous ornamental feathers on breast and scapulars, a thick bunch of decomposed dorsal plumes extends beyond the tail. Non-breeding: The ornamental plumes are dropped through occasionally some of the scapular plumes are retained.

Nesting: Season- principally July/August in N. India; November to February in the south. Nest- a shallow twig platform, like a crow's, lined with straw, leaves, etc. Built in trees, amongst mixed heronries, often near a village. Eggs-4, pale bluish green.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Littel Egret (English)
• Kilchia (Hindi)
• Karchia bagla (Hindi)
• little egret (English)
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Estuarine, Muddy, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects.
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• East coast INDIA
• West coast INDIA
• Goa, Carambolim INDIA (Record: 05/05/1999, 10/03/1993)
• Goa, Chorao prawn farm INDIA (Record: 12/01/1999)
• Goa, Anjuna coast INDIA (Record: 07/10/1998)
• Orissa, Barkul INDIA (Record: 20/06/1986)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA (Record: 2003, 2008)
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 75.96) INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.66) (Long: 76.18) INDIA
• Kerala, Vembanad Lake (Lat: 9.66) (Long: 76.55) INDIA
• Kerala, Vembanad Lake (Lat: 9.28) (Long: 76.31) INDIA
• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh INDIA
• Goa, Mandovi estuary INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Pulicat Lake INDIA
• Orissa, Dhamra Port INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Kumar, A; Sati, JP; Tak, PC and Alfred, JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation Zoological Survey of India, Dehra Dun 468 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Lainer, H (2004) Birds of Goa : A reference book The Goa Foundation, Goa 244 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Ali, S (1977) The book of Indian birds Bombay Natural History Society 175 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Available at -
  • Chattopadhyay, S (1995) Aves Wetland ecosystem series 1: Fauna of Chilika lake ZSI, Calcutta 561-599 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Dr. Ramesh, R; Dr. Nammalwar, P and Dr. Gowri, VS (2008) Database on coastal information of Tamil Nadu Report Submitted to Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre, Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Available at -
  • Nameer, PO (2005) Wetlands and waterfowl conservation in kerala with special reference to Ramsar sites kerala environment congress 2005 Centre for environment and development 97-112 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • (1997) Coastal marine environment of Gujarat 178pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Borges, SD and Shanbhag, AB (2008) Food resource partitioning among waterbirds wintering on the Diwar wetland in the Mandove estuary of Goa, India Proceedings of Taal2007:The 12th World Lake conference 124-130 Available at -
  • Nagarjuna, A; Kumar,NVN; Kalarani, V and Reddy, DC (2010) Aquatic and avian biodiversity of Pulicat brackish water lake and ecological degradation World Journal of Fish and Marine Sciences IDOSI Publications 2 (2) 118-123 Available at -
  • Dutta, SK (2007) Biodiversity assessment of Dhamra port site and surrounding areas, Orissa Greenpeace India 4-38 Available at -
  • Srinivasulu, C (2004) Birds of kawal wildlife sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh , India Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 101(1) 3-25 Available at - NIO, Goa

Page last updated on:2012-02-09

Back to Search