Sunday, December 5, 2010

Egretta Alba of Belarus. Birdlife International 2008.

On March 13, 2008 the Ministry of Communications and Informatization of the Republic of  Belarus issued the stamp “Great white heron” from  the  series  “A bird of the year” prepared by the Publishing Centre “Marka” of the EUR “Belpochta”.The “Ahova ptushak Batskaushchyny” fund (Protection of Homeland Birds) declared the great white heron a bird of the year 2008.

Egretta alba or The Great White Heron is the tallest, largest white egret that has extremely long legs and neck.Its neck is longer than its body, and is held in a distinctive kink.

Egretta alba feed on mostly fish, but will also take amphibians (frogs), aquatic invertebrates (insects, crayfish), and reptiles (snakes).Egretta alba are skilled hunters. They stalk the shallow waters or mud flats, walking slowly or quickly with their strong neck coiled at ready.Egretta alba hunt alone or in small, loose groups. Nevertheless, they usually vigorously defend a small feeding territory from other egrets.

bel200801lEgretta alba  breeds in North America and winters in South America; another breeds in Europe and Russia and winters in Africa; and the eastern race that visits Singapore is found from the Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia all the way to Australia and New Zealand.

The Great White Heron's favoured wintering grounds for both foraging and roosting are mainly mangroves, mudflats, estuaries.

Egretta alba’s beautiful breeding feathers where in huge demand for hat decorations during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Heavy hunting nearly drove Egretta alba to extinction.The Great White Heron or Egretta alba is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

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