Sunday, April 5, 2009

Egret

An egret is any of the slender, long bodied usually white birds of the heron family, Ardeidae, that grow long, decorative plumes (the aigrette) in breeding season. The great egret, Casmerodium albus, of the world’s temperate and tropical zones and the New World snowy egret, Egretta thula, were once most almost eliminated in America by plume hunters supplying the millinery trade, but they have survived under strict protection. The stockier cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis, of Eurasia and Africa, has extended its range in recent decades to South America, Australia and North America.

Egret, a species of heron, were nearly destroyed during the 19th century by hunters, for their plumes were highly prized as hat feathers. The snowy egret has plumes on its head and back. The great egret has long, silky tail feathers. Both species live in colonies near fresh water marshes.

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