Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Snowy Egret Egretta thula


enlarge +

Snowy Egret
credit: Johnath/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

All Images

1 article:

Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Family: Ardeidae, Herons, Egrets, Bitterns view all from this family

Description ADULT Has pure white plumage with elegant plumes evident during breeding season. Legs are black and feet are yellow (orange tinged at height of breeding season). Daggerlike bill is dark and lores are yellow for much of the time, but are flushed red in breeding season. juvenile Similar to adult, but backs of legs are yellow.

Dimensions Length: 20-27" (51-69 cm); Wngspn: 3' 2" (97 cm)

Habitat Associated with wetland habitats, ranging from sheltered coasts and brackish lagoons to freshwater lakes and rivers. Present year-round near coasts; summer breeding range extends inland.

Observation Tips Easy to see in suitable habitats.

Range New England, Southeast, Florida, Plains, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Western Canada, California, Northwest, Texas, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Eastern Canada

Voice Mostly silent.

Discussion Pure white heron-like bird. Superficially similar to Cattle and Great egrets but adult Snowy Egret's bright yellow feet, contrasting with otherwise black legs, and its black bill, are diagnostic. Long periods of time are spent roosting and preening. Sometimes adopts a patient, wait-and-see approach to feeding but also employs more energetic tactics in pursuit of fish, amphibians, and crustaceans. Sexes are similar but immatures and adults can be separated with care. Beware confusion with immature Little Blue Heron, which is all white but has yellowish legs as well as feet, and a two-toned bill.