Reading: Great Egrets

This is a reading passage about Great Egrets. You can enjoy finding out about these birds and learn some new words. (Don’t worry, there is no quiz)


In Japan, we can often see Great Egrets standing in rivers, lakes, estuaries, and also in fields. These are all places where they can hunt their prey — the various fish, frogs, lizards, and insects that they eat. As you can tell from the name, they are large birds, standing around 100cm in height, and with a wingspan of over 150cm. If you watch them throughout the year, you might notice that there are some color changes to their legs, faces and bills (or beaks). In the winter, they usually have yellow bills and yellow facial skin together with black legs. In the breeding season, however, the breeding adults develop darker bills, green facial skin, and sometimes lighter color legs. One interesting adaptation of these birds, and other herons, is that their tongues have backwards-pointing barbs or points, which are used to prevent the escape of slippery prey, such as fish.