Domitrius Barkwood

Updated On:

What Do Egrets Eat [15+ Foods They Feed On]

Heartgard Plus Chewables For Medium Dogs 26-50lbs (Green) 12 Doses

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Egrets are birds that look a bit like flamingos, with their long necks and thin legs. 

While they may appear gentle, they are predators that small animals fear.

There are 11 different kinds of egrets, including the cattle egret, reddish egret, snowy egret, and great egret. 

Unfortunately, egrets became endangered because people hunted them extensively in the 19th and early 20th centuries for their feathers.

Now, they are protected, and it’s important to help them survive. One way to do that is by making sure they have plenty of food.

Egrets have interesting eating habits, ways of hunting, and places they live. 

In this article, we’ll explore what egrets like to eat, what baby egrets eat, the different kinds of egrets and what they eat, how they hunt, where they live, and some cool facts about them. Let’s dive in!

What Do Egrets Eat All Year Round: Full Diet, Behavior & Habits 


Egrets are birds that mostly eat other animals to stay healthy. 

They have a varied diet, which means they eat different things depending on where they live, the time of year, and what kinds of animals are around.

A big part of what egrets eat is small fish. They’re good at catching fish and can be seen standing in shallow water or along the shore, waiting patiently to catch their next meal.

Apart from fish, egrets also eat other water creatures like crabs, shrimp, and crayfish. They also like to snack on toads, frogs, lizards, and snakes

Egrets are very skilled hunters and use their sharp beaks to catch these animals with precision.

During the breeding season when they have chicks to feed, egrets also eat Small insects such as dragonflies, grasshoppers, beetles, and aquatic insects

These foods are important because they provide the right kind of nutrients for the baby birds to grow strong.

Even though they don’t do it as often, egrets might also eat small mammals such as mice, voles, and young rats and rodents when they get the chance. 

This shows how adaptable they are in finding food from different sources.

Now that we’ve looked at what egrets eat all year, let’s learn more about how they find food and what baby egrets need to eat.

What Do Baby Egrets Eat?

Baby egrets, like grown-up egrets, mostly eat a diet full of protein to help them grow quickly. 

But because they’re young and still growing, their eating habits are a bit different from adult egrets.

At first, baby egrets mainly eat food that their parents bring back and then regurgitate (basically, bring it back up) for them. 

Adult egrets catch prey like fish and insects, start digesting them in their stomachs, and then bring them back up to feed their babies. 

Parent egrets usually bring back a mix of small fish and insects to the nest, giving their hungry chicks the nutrients they need to grow fast.

Sometimes, depending on what’s available in their environment, parent egrets might also bring back other creatures like crayfish, crabs, frogs, and tadpoles to feed their chicks.

As baby egrets get older, they start to eat bigger prey and try out different types of food.

When baby egrets are still young and in the nest, most of what they eat is the regurgitated food from their parents. 

Parent egrets are dedicated to taking care of their young. 

They work hard to find food and come back to the nest many times a day to make sure their chicks get enough to eat and grow well.

The care and feeding from their parents are very important for baby egrets to thrive until they’re old enough to find food by themselves.

How do egrets find food?

Egrets have many ways of catching food that show how well they can adapt to different places and types of prey. 

They’re known for being patient, quick, and accurate when they hunt. 

One common method they use is stalking, where they quietly move through shallow water or along the shore, using their slim bodies and long legs to blend in and wait for the right moment to catch something. 

They’re also good at wading through water, using their long legs to search for small fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and other water creatures hidden in the mud and plants. 

When they see something they can catch, they move fast and grab it with their sharp beaks.

Some egrets, like the Snowy Egret, have a special way of hunting called hovering. 

They flutter their wings to make a shadow that attracts fish, then quickly dive down to catch them. 

Sometimes, egrets will even dive from high places or work together in groups to find food more easily. 

Overall, egrets have special skills that help them find food in different places, showing how well they can adapt to their environment and the kinds of food available there.

Different Species of Egrets & Their Diet

1. Great Egret

The Great Egret, scientifically known as Ardea alba, is a widely distributed egret species.

These majestic birds are prominent fish-eaters, especially during the breeding season when they primarily consume fish along with crustaceans and other aquatic creatures. 

In winter, they adapt their diet to include insects, amphibians, and occasional scavenging while retaining fish as their top choice. 

Great Egrets showcase impressive hunting skills, often seen elegantly navigating shallow waters in pursuit of prey.

2. Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

Snowy Egrets, distinguished by their smaller size and distinctive yellow feet, share a love for fish with Great Egrets. 

Fish remains a constant part of their diet year-round, supplemented by crustaceans, frogs, and insects. 

Their active feeding behavior involves stirring up prey from the water, setting them apart in their hunting approach.

3. Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Cattle Egrets are commonly found near grazing animals, benefiting from insects disturbed by the animals’ movements. 

Their diet includes various insects like grasshoppers, crickets, flies, as well as spiders and other small invertebrates. 

These birds are known for their association with livestock and agricultural areas, where they contribute to pest control by feeding on insects attracted to these environments.

4. Little Egret 

The Little Egret, scientifically known as Egretta garzetta, stands out with its slender build and striking black legs and feet. 

While they favor fish, Little Egrets exhibit dietary flexibility, turning to amphibians, small reptiles, and even other birds when fish are scarce. 

Their diet may also include invertebrates such as crustaceans, mollusks, and insects. 

Little Egrets are often observed foraging along shorelines and in shallow water bodies, showcasing their adaptability.

5. Reddish Egret

The Reddish Egret, with its unique reddish-brown plumage and energetic hunting style, is a striking member of the Egret family. 

Their diet includes small fish, crustaceans, and aquatic insects. 

They employ various hunting techniques, from running and jumping to spinning, to capture prey in shallow waters.

Habitat of Ergets

Egrets live in various wetlands and watery places where they can easily find food and safe spots to make their nests. 

These places include marshes, swamps, lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries, and coastal areas. 

Sometimes, you might even spot them in fields used for farming that have water features.

Egrets prefer to be in shallow water because it’s easier for them to hunt for fish, frogs, crabs, and other water creatures they like to eat. 

They feel most comfortable in places with lots of plants or reeds where they can hide and build their nests safely. 

Egrets are flexible birds and can live in both natural places and areas changed by humans, like ponds in city parks or near rice fields. 

The main things that decide where egrets live are how much food there is, if there are good spots for nests, and if the area is calm and not too disturbed.

Predators of Ergets

Egrets, those graceful birds, face many dangers from other animals in their homes. 

They have to watch out for birds like eagles, hawks, and owls, especially when they’re young or hurt. 

Snakes, especially big ones that squeeze or have poison, can also eat egret eggs, babies, or grown-ups when they’re not careful. 

In wetlands, mammals like raccoons, foxes, and wild cats can sneak up on egret nests and hurt their babies. 

If egrets live where there are big reptiles like alligators or crocodiles, those reptiles might try to eat both young and grown-up egrets. 

Even big fish in the water can be a danger to young egrets learning to swim. 

Sadly, people also harm egrets by destroying their homes, making the water dirty, and causing trouble in their habitats. 

Despite being good hunters, egrets still have to be careful because many animals want to eat them, and this affects how many egrets there are and where they choose to live.

Knowing where egrets like to live shows why it’s important to protect wetlands. Now, let’s learn some cool facts about these egrets that set them apart from other birds.

Interesting Facts About the Egret


Egrets, remarkable birds with unique traits, have many interesting aspects:

1. Feather Displays: During mating season, egrets showcase stunning feathers, especially on their necks and backs, as part of their courtship.

2. Courtship Rituals: Egrets have elaborate rituals to attract mates, including flying displays, pointing their bills, and grooming each other.

3. Nesting Habits: Egrets often build nests close together in groups called colonies for safety from predators.

4. Parental Care: Both male and female egrets take care of their eggs and babies, providing food and protection.

5. Long Lifespan: Egrets can live for many years, with some living over 20 years.

6. Migration: Many egrets travel long distances between breeding and wintering spots to find the best places for food and nesting.

7. Conservation: Some egret species have faced challenges from habitat loss and pollution, but conservation efforts have helped some populations recover.

8. Ecosystem Role: Egrets help keep wetland areas healthy by controlling prey populations and contributing to nutrient cycles.

9. Relationships: Egrets often benefit from the presence of other animals like cattle, which stir up insects for them to eat.

10. Cultural Importance: Egrets have been celebrated in art, stories, and beliefs worldwide for their grace and beauty.

These facts show how important egrets are in nature and human culture.


In summary, egrets are amazing examples of how nature works smartly and can adapt well. They show us how predators and prey live together in ecosystems. 

Egrets have interesting food choices, hunting styles, and homes that fascinate bird lovers and those who care about nature. 

As caretakers of our environment, it’s crucial to value and protect egrets and the places they live, ensuring they thrive for future generations.


What is the most common thing egrets eat?

The most common food in an egret’s diet is fish.
Egrets are skilled fishers and often hunt for small fish in rivers, lakes, ponds, and coastal waters.
They use their long, sharp bills to catch fish with precision.

What is the lifespan of an egret?

Egrets typically have a lifespan of around 15 to 20 years in the wild.
However, their lifespan can vary depending on factors such as habitat quality, predation, and availability of food.

What do egrets eat in the grass?

In grassy areas, egrets may feed on a variety of prey, including insects like grasshoppers, beetles, and spiders.
They may also hunt for small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians that inhabit grasslands.
Additionally, egrets might forage for worms, snails, and other invertebrates found in moist soil or near water sources within grassy habitats.

How Often Do Egrets Eat?

These birds are opportunistic feeders and will catch any suitable food they see moving. 
They might feed several times during the day and chicks need to eat at least four times per day.
Adult egrets can however survive on one single good feeding per day.

What Do Egrets Eat In The Wild?

In the wild, egrets mostly feed on fish but insects, amphibians, and reptiles also make up a large portion of their diet.  
Other animals like birds and small mammals are not quite such a common food source as fish and insects but these foods are still pretty easy for them to catch and devour.

What Do Egrets Eat in Captivity?

In captivity, egrets are usually fed on fish and mice. 
Some egrets may also be taught to eat carrion meats in which case they might be supplied with chunks of lean meats. 
In most cases, they do however prefer to feed on live foods.

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates.