Egrets are members of a large family of wading birds that includes 65 species of egrets, night-herons, typical herons, tiger-herons, and bitterns. Their long necks, longer than their bodies, are retracted during flight, which is how watchers can tell them from storks and cranes.
These great hunters feed on fish, frogs, crayfish and snakes. Some stir up the mud with their feet to attract prey. When feeding in flocks, it is common to see egrets leap-frog over each other, or plunge into the water.
The biggest threat to egrets in the past was the demand for their decorative feathers. Although most species are recovering, the destruction of wetlands has added a modern threat.