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Egretta garzetta 

Scope: Global
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Pelecaniformes Ardeidae

Scientific Name: Egretta garzetta
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1766)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Little Egret
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Taxonomic Notes: Egretta gularis (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) contains the taxon dimorpha, which was previously included within E. garzetta following Kushlan and Hancock (2005)Prior to that, all three taxa were treated as separate species following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Ashpole, J
Justification:
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km2. It has a large global population estimated to be 660,000-3,150,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola (Angola); Antigua and Barbuda; Armenia (Armenia); Aruba; Australia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belgium; Benin; Bhutan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brunei Darussalam; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Central African Republic; Chad; China; Christmas Island; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Djibouti; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Ethiopia; France; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Guam; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Hong Kong; Hungary; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Lebanon; Lesotho; Liberia; Libya; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malawi; Malaysia; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Moldova; Montenegro; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Netherlands; New Zealand; Niger; Nigeria; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia (Serbia); Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Swaziland; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States (Georgia); Uzbekistan; Viet Nam; Western Sahara; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Vagrant:
Anguilla; Canada; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Dominica; Finland; Guadeloupe; Guyana; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Luxembourg; Maldives; Martinique; Mongolia; Montserrat; Norway; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sao Tomé and Principe; Suriname; Sweden; Trinidad and Tobago
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:151000000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population is estimated at 660,000-3,150,000 individuals. Totals for E. g. garzetta and E. g. dimorpha from Wetlands International (2015) added together. The European population is estimated at 66,700-84,800 pairs, which equates to 133,000-170,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).



Trend Justification:  The overall population trend is increasing, although some populations may be stable and others have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006). The European breeding population trend is estimated to be decreasing (BirdLife International 2015) or stable (EBCC 2015) in the short-term.

Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Behaviour All populations of this species undergo post-breeding dispersive movements (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Populations breeding in the Palearctic are highly migratory (Hancock and Kushlan 1984) whereas others are only sedentary (such as E. g. dimorpha on Madagascar), nomadic (del Hoyo et al. 1992) or partially migratory (Hancock and Kushlan 1984). The timing of breeding varies geographically (del Hoyo et al. 1992) although, in general, European and north Asian populations breed in spring and summer (March to July) and the breeding of tropical populations coincides with periods of high rainfall (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). The species usually nests in colonies sometimes of thousands of pairs and often with other species (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Some populations also breed solitarily or in small single-species groups of under 100 pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1992). When not breeding the species commonly feeds solitarily or in loose flocks during the day (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Habitat It inhabits fresh, brackish or saline wetlands (del Hoyo et al. 1992) and shows a preference for shallow waters (10-15 cm deep) in open, unvegetated sites where water levels and dissolved oxygen levels fluctuate daily, tidally or seasonally, and where fish are concentrated in pools or at the water's surface (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). Habitats frequented include the margins of shallow lakes, rivers, streams and pools, open swamps and marshes, flooded meadows, rafts of floating water hyacinth Eichornia spp. on African lakes (Kushlan and Hancock 2005), flood-plains (del Hoyo et al. 1992), lagoons, irrigation canals, aquaculture ponds (Kushlan and Hancock 2005), saltpans (del Hoyo et al. 1992) and rice fields (which are especially important in areas with few remaining natural wetland habitats) (Hancock and Kushlan 1984, Kushlan and Hancock 2005). The species also occupies dry fields, inland savannas and cattle pastures (del Hoyo et al. 1992) and some populations are almost entirely coastal, inhabiting rocky or sandy shores, reefs, estuaries, mudflats, saltmarshes, mangroves and tidal creeks (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Diet It is a highly opportunistic feeder (Kushlan and Hancock 2005), taking mainly small fish under 20 g in weight and less than 10 cm long (del Hoyo et al. 1992) (averaging 4 cm) (Kushlan and Hancock 2005), aquatic and terrestrial insects (e.g. beetles, dragonfly larvae, mole crickets and crickets) (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) and crustaceans (del Hoyo et al. 1992) (e.g. Palaemonetes spp., amphipods, phylopods, crabs and exotic species of crayfish) (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) as well as amphibians, molluscs (del Hoyo et al. 1992) (snails and bivalves) (Kushlan and Hancock 2005), spiders, worms, reptiles and small birds (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Breeding site The species may nest on the ground in protected sites (Kushlan and Hancock 2005) or up to 20 m high on rocks, in reedbeds, bushes, trees or mangroves (del Hoyo et al. 1992). It usually nests in single- or mixed-species colonies where nests may be placed 1-4 m apart (sometimes less than 1 m apart) (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). It may feed up to 7-13 km away from breeding colonies during the breeding season (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Management information An artificial island nesting site created in the Camargue, France succeeded in attracting nesting pairs to the area (Hafner 2000). A study in north-west Italy suggests that existing nesting sites should be protected and that breeding habitats should be actively managed in order to maintain suitable habitat characteristics (Fasola and Alieri 1992). The creation of a network of new nesting sites spaced at 4-10 km in relation to available foraging habitats in zones currently without suitable nesting sites is also recommended (Fasola and Alieri 1992).
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):6.6
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is threatened by wetland degradation and loss through drainage for agriculture (e.g. rice-farming and fishing), changes in current management practices (e.g. of rice-farming) and contamination from agricultural and industrial operations (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). The species is also susceptible to avian influenza so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the virus (Ellis et al. 2004, Melville and Shortridge 2006), and it previously suffered from hunting for the plume trade (although this is no longer a threat) (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kushlan and Hancock 2005). Nesting colonies of E. g. dimorpha are depredated by villagers in Madagascar (Langrand 1990).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The species is listed on Annex I of the EU Birds Directive and Annex II of the Bern Convention.

Conservation Actions Proposed
The following information refers to the species's European range only: An artificial island nesting site created in the Camargue, France succeeded in attracting nesting pairs to the area (Hafner 2000). A study in north-west Italy suggests that existing nesting sites should be protected and that breeding habitats should be actively managed in order to maintain suitable habitat characteristics (Fasola and Alieri 1992). The creation of a network of new nesting sites spaced at 4–10 km in relation to available foraging habitats in zones currently without suitable nesting sites is also recommended (Fasola and Alieri 1992). Freshwater habitats need to be sustainably managed. Establish non-intrusion zones around colonies.

Classifications [top]

15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.9. Artificial/Aquatic - Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.8. Artificial/Aquatic - Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.2. Artificial/Aquatic - Ponds (below 8ha)
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
13. Marine Coastal/Supratidal -> 13.5. Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Coastal Freshwater Lakes
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
13. Marine Coastal/Supratidal -> 13.4. Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
13. Marine Coastal/Supratidal -> 13.1. Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
12. Marine Intertidal -> 12.6. Marine Intertidal - Tidepools
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
12. Marine Intertidal -> 12.4. Marine Intertidal - Mud Flats and Salt Flats
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
12. Marine Intertidal -> 12.3. Marine Intertidal - Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
12. Marine Intertidal -> 12.2. Marine Intertidal - Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.10. Marine Neritic - Estuaries
suitability:Suitable season:non-breeding major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.10. Marine Neritic - Estuaries
suitability:Suitable season:breeding major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.6. Inter-Reef Rubble Substrate
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.5. Inter-Reef Soft Substrate
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.4. Lagoon
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.3. Foreslope (Outer Reef Slope)
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.2. Back Slope
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.1. Outer Reef Channel
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.15. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes and Flats
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.14. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Lakes
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.8. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.6. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability:Suitable season:non-breeding major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability:Suitable season:breeding major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability:Suitable season:non-breeding major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability:Suitable season:breeding major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.6. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded
suitability:Suitable season:non-breeding major importance:Yes
4. Grassland -> 4.6. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded
suitability:Suitable season:breeding major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.7. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level
suitability:Suitable season:non-breeding major importance:No
1. Forest -> 1.7. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level
suitability:Suitable season:breeding major importance:No

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:No
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No

Bibliography [top]

BirdLife International. 2015. European Red List of Birds. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg.

del Hoyo, J., Elliot, A. and Sargatal, J. 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

EBCC. 2015. Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme. Available at: http://www.ebcc.info/index.php?ID=587.

Ellis, T. M.; Bousfield, R. B.; Bissett, L. A.; Dyrting, K. C.; Luk, G. S. M.; Tsim, S. T.; Sturm-Ramirez, K.; Webster, R. G.; Guan, Y.; Peris, J. S. M. 2004. Investigation of outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in waterfowl and wild birds in Hong Kong in late 2002. Avian Pathology 33(5): 492-505.

Fasola, M.; Alieri, R. 1992. Conservation of heronry Ardeidae sites in North Italian agricultural landscapes. Biological Conservation 62: 219-228.

Hafner, H. 2000. Heron nest site conservation. In: Kushlan, J. A.; Hafner, H. (ed.), Heron conservation, pp. 201-217. Academic Press, San Diego.

Hancock, J.; Kushlan, J. 1984. The herons handbook. Croom Helm, London.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 07 December 2016).

Kushlan, J.A. and Hancock, J.A. 2005. The herons. Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.

Langrand, O. 1990. Guide to the birds of Madagascar. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Melville, D.S. and Shortridge, K.F. 2006. Migratory waterbirds and avian influenza in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway with particular reference to the 2003-2004 H5N1 outbreak. In: G. Boere, C. Galbraith and D. Stroud (eds), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 432-438. The Stationery Office, Edinburgh, U.K.

Wetlands International. 2015. Waterbird Population Estimates. Available at: wpe.wetlands.org. (Accessed: 17/09/2015).


Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Egretta garzetta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T62774969A86473701. . Downloaded on 16 August 2017.
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