Great Egret sighted on Tristan


Report and photos from Rachel Green
with additional images from Caryn Green

Normally these magnificent birds are seen poised above wetlands waiting to pounce on fish.
It is indeed extraordinary that this bird was instead hunting mice!

Recent interest in vagrant species discovered around the Tristan islands has prompted Rachel to send a photo of a Great Egret she took over the 2022 Easter weekend together with other images taken of a Great Egret in 2021. These majestic birds breed in both South America and Africa. Peter Ryan thinks it much more likely that this bird flew eastwards from South America to Africa, calling at Tristan da Cunha for a feeding stop! This would entail a flight, in a straight line, of over 5000 kilometers. More common visitors to Tristan are Cattle Egrets, also called Tick Birds on the island, and also astonishing migrants as they feed on the island on their inter-continental migration.

Rachel reports:


Last year a bird was spotted in May out at the Potato Patches. Many of the islanders thought it was a stork. I managed to see the bird and get a not-so-good photo, but with some research, it was found to be a ‘Great Egret’. Surprisingly a few days ago the same species of bird was spotted out at the Potato Patches, eating mice from the potato patches’ walls. We normally have ‘Cattle Egrets’ but never ‘Great Egrets’. I thought it was quite interesting that they are only seen around this time of the year in April or May.


May 2021 Great Egret photos – from Caryn Green unless otherwise stated.