Difference Between Egret And Heron


Egrets and herons are both species of water birds that belong to the family Ardeidae. They are found in various regions all around the world and can be commonly seen in and around lakes, rivers, ponds and wetlands. Although both egrets and herons have a lot of similarities, there are subtle differences between the two that sets them apart. This article will help you understand the distinct characteristics of egrets and herons and compare them.

Differences between Egret and Heron:


One of the fundamental differences between egrets and herons is the size. Egrets are generally smaller in size when compared to herons. Egrets typically range from 55-70cm long, while Herons range from 90-140cm long. Their weight also varies significantly, with egrets being much lighter, weighing between 400-700 grams, whereas herons can weigh up to 5kg.


Egrets and herons have a vast color range, and this characteristic can vary between the different species. However, egrets have predominantly white feathers, while herons have a more complex color scheme with beige or grey feathers. Another difference is the color of the bill. Egrets have thin, slender bills that are dark whereas, herons have thicker, longer and sharper bills that can be a variety of colors including pink, yellow or orange.

Feather arrangement:

The arrangement of feathers is different in the two birds. Egrets have a very soft plumage where feathers are distributed evenly throughout the birds’ body, while Herons have a more defined and sturdy plumage where feathers are more concentrated around their neck, shoulders and wings.


Both Egrets and Herons can be found in similar habitats. Egrets tend to choose more freshwater domains such as wetlands, rivers, streams and lakes. Herons are known to live in both freshwater and marine areas, such as riverbanks, seashores and around shallow water bodies.


Both Egrets and Herons rely on their long legs to wade in shallow water looking for their prey, but their behavior somewhat differs. Egrets are relatively more active hunters with a swift response time, striking their prey with lightning speed. Herons adopt a more patient hunting style, standing for long periods, motionless and waiting for their prey to come within range before quickly striking.


Both Egrets and Herons mate for the long-term and breed once annually. They build nests in tall trees and ensure they are sturdy enough to support their hatchlings. The difference in breeding appears to be more visually apparent. Egrets build their nest in colonies, while Herons usually build on their own, choosing a tree that is far from other herons.


1. Are Egrets and Herons related to each other?

Yes, Egrets and Herons belong to the same family of Ardeidae.

2. What is the habitat of Egrets and Herons?

Both egrets and herons inhabit wetlands, rivers, streams, lakes, and seashores.

3. What is the primary diet of Egrets and Herons?

Egrets and Herons mostly feed on fish, small amphibians, and insects.

4. Are Egrets and Herons migratory birds?

Yes, some species of Egrets and Herons are migratory birds.


In conclusion, Egrets and Herons are both fascinating birds with many similarities and differences. While their physical characteristics and habitat might be similar, their behavior and hunting style differ significantly. It is essential to understand these differences to identify which bird you are observing, and to appreciate their unique qualities.