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egret


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[Old Provençal aigreta].

The long-legged wading bird (genera Bubulcus, Casmerodius, Leucophoyx) with characteristic long white tail-feathers played an important role in Celtic iconography as early as the Urnfield period (c.800 bc), although not in later vernacular traditions. Three symbolic egrets appear in a temple of the Gaulish god Esus. From earliest times egrets are portrayed with bulls, probably reflecting the habit of the birds in life of perching on the back of the animal to eat its lice. In iconography they are also associated with the willow tree, as befits a bird that forages in marshes. Often egret, bull, and willow appear in combination. The egret may sometimes be confused with the crane. ModIr. éigrit; Manx coar vane; W crychydd, crëyr; Bret. kribell-blu.

Subjects: Religion.


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