Egrets are a species of herons, most Egrets have white plumage and develop long ornamental nuptial plumes on their back for breeding season. They can be seen wading in shallow coastal waters, build untidy nests in trees, bushes or on the ground. Their habits are generally like those of other herons, but some perform elaborate mating rituals involving the plumes. The name egret is derived from aigrette which is the name of the mating plumage. These plums are highly prized as ornaments in Oriental ceremonial dress and were formerly used in the Western millinery trade. The high price paid for the plumes, along with the vulnerability of the birds, who nest in large colonies, resulted in near extinction of egrets because of unscrupulous hunters. Strict conservation measures have since allowed their numbers to increase.
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