Great egrets mate with one mate each season. Males are in charge of finding a home and attracting a female.
Mating System: monogamous
Great egrets usually build their nests around other egrets. Nests are a platform made of sticks, twigs, and stems built high up in a tree. Eggs are greenish blue, and both the male and female aid in hatching. Great egrets tend to lay 3-4 eggs. They raise one brood each year. Breeding season begins in mid-August.
Breeding interval: Great egrets breed once per year.
Breeding season: Breeding season begins in mid-April.
Average eggs per season: 3-4.
Average time to hatching: 23-24 days.
Average fledging age: 2-3 weeks.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 years.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 years.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); fertilization
Both males and females aid in incubating and feeding their young. Young nestlings are fed by regurgitation, which is when the parent eats food, and then pushes it back out of its mouth and down a baby's mouth. When the nestlings are a little older they will grab the food from their parent.
Parental Investment: no parental involvement; pre-fertilization; pre-hatching/birth (Protecting: Male, Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female)
- Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, 2000. "Wildlife in Connecticut" (On-line). Accessed 11/20/2003 at http://dep.state.ct.us/burnatr/wildlife/factshts/gegret.htm.
- Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 1998. "Illinois Natural History Survey" (On-line). Accessed 11/20/2003 at http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/chf/pub/ifwis/birds/great-egret.html.