New York Natural Heritage Program
Great Egret
Ardea alba Linnaeus, 1758

Habitat [-]
Great Egrets inhabit marshes, open riverbanks, irrigation canals, and lakeshores in New York (Budliger and Kennedy 2005). They nest on coastal islands and barrier beaches on Long Island in dense scrub thickets or trees (New York Natural Heritage Program 2007).

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • High salt marsh
    A coastal marsh community that occurs in sheltered areas of the seacoast, in a zone extending from mean high tide up to the limit of spring tides. It is periodically flooded by spring tides and flood tides. High salt marshes typically consist of a mosaic of patches that are mostly dominated by a single graminoid species.
  • Low salt marsh
    A coastal marsh community that occurs in sheltered areas of the seacoast, in a zone extending from mean high tide down to mean sea level or to about 2 m (6 ft) below mean high tide. It is regularly flooded by semidiurnal tides. The mean tidal range of low salt marshes on Long Island is about 80 cm, and they often form in basins with a depth of 1.6 m or greater.
  • Marine intertidal mudflats*
    A community of quiet waters, with substrates composed of silt or sand that is rich in organic matter and poorly drained at low tide. The substrate may be covered with algae.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • Maritime dunes
    A community dominated by grasses and low shrubs that occurs on active and stabilized dunes along the Atlantic coast. The composition and structure of the vegetation is variable depending on stability of the dunes, amounts of sand deposition and erosion, and distance from the ocean.
  • Summer-stratified monomictic lake
    The aquatic community of a lake that is so deep (or large) that it has only one period of mixing or turnover each year (monomictic), and one period of stratification. These lakes generally do not freeze over in winter (except in unusually cold years) or form only a thin or sporadic ice cover during the coldest parts of midwinter, so the water circulates and is isothermal during the winter.
  • Tidal river*
    The aquatic community of a river under the influence of daily lunar tides. We restrict this community to the continuously flooded portions of the river where plants do not grow out of the water. A deepwater zone has depths averaging more than 2 m (6 ft) at low tide. Salinities at any one place in the river may fluctuate as the tides flow in and out.

    * probable association but not confirmed

Associated Species [-]
  • Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
  • Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
  • Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)
  • Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)
  • Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
  • Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
  • Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)
  • American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus)
  • Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
  • Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla)
  • Great Black-Backed Gull (Larus marinus)
  • Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)
  • Black-Crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
  • Double-Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)
  • Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
  • Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
  • Least Tern (Sterna antillarum)
  • Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii)
  • Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)
  • Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)