All solid organs contain resident monocyte-derived cells that appear early in organogenesis and persist throughout life. These cells are critical for normal development in some organs. Here we report the use of a previously described transgenic line, with EGFP driven by the macrophage-restricted Csf1r (c-fms) promoter, to image macrophage production and infiltration accompanying organogenesis in many tissues. Using microarray analysis of FACS-isolated EGFP-positive cells, we show that fetal kidney, lung and brain macrophages show similar gene expression profiles irrespective of their tissue of origin. EGFP-positive cells appeared in the renal interstitium from 12 days post coitum, prior to nephrogenesis, and maintain a close apposition to renal tubules postnatally. CSF-1 added to embryonic kidney explants increased overall renal growth and ureteric bud branching. Expression profiling of tissue macrophages and of CSF-1-treated explants showed evidence of the alternate, pro-proliferative (M2) activation profile, including expression of macrophage mannose receptor (CD206), macrophage scavenger receptor 2 (Msr2), C1q, CD163, selenoprotein P, CCL24 and TREM2. This response has been associated with the trophic role of tumour-associated macrophages. These findings suggest a trophic role of macrophages in embryonic kidney development, which may continue to play a similar role in postnatal repair.