Great white egret

Photo Details: Great White Egret (Egretta alba), its legs and wings outstretched, comes in to land near the banks of Nyamithi Pan, Ndumo Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP); Lens: Canon EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM; Focal Length: 300mm; Shutter speed: 1/640; Aperture: f8; ISO: 200; 29 July 2009, 10.37am.

Additional Info: The great white egret is a handsome, elegant bird with its long, graceful neck, long legs, and normally orange-yellow bill.

It’s a lot larger than the similar-looking yellowbilled egret (Egretta intermedia), has entirely black legs and feet, and the line of the gape extends back behind the eye. For a few weeks when breeding the bill is black, often with a yellow base.

Location: Ndumo Game Reserve, covering about 9,000 hectares, is situated in the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal, very close to the border between South Africa and Mozambique.

Its location means it can accommodate birds from both the northern and southern regions of southern Africa and the reserve is renowned for its diversity of bird life. It comes as no surprise therefore that Ndumo boasts the highest bird count in South Africa with some 430 species.

The spectacular Nyamithi Pan, encircled by yellow-green fever trees and fringed with reedbeds, hosts large numbers of crocodiles and a wondrous array of water birds. The surrounding acacia savannah, thick bush, and sand forests provide good opportunities to view the resident wildlife, particularly the large numbers of nyala antelope.

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