Snowy egret in exhibit
Scientific Name
Egretta thula
Geographic Range
North and South America
Fish, frogs, worms, crustaceans, and insects
Snowy egret in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern

More Information

Snowy egrets are herons with all-white feathers, long black legs, and yellow feet. They also have a long, thin neck which is not always apparent by the way they sit. They are distinguished by a crest of long, white features that fall from the top of their head. These birds live in wetland habitats.

These birds breed in mixed-species colonies. Males begin constructing nests even before they find a mate, and their courtship may involve aerial displays. Once paired, females take over nest construction. After laying up to six eggs, incubation takes around 22 days. Both parents care for the hatchlings and young leave the nest after 20–25 days. They fly about a week later.

Did You Know?

  • Snowy egrets use their feet to paddle and probe for prey. Once a live food item is found, they will strike it with their bill.
  • These birds are very sensitive to environmental changes that reduce prey availability because they spend more time feeding than other herons.
  • Their populations dropped significantly in the 19th century due to hunting. However, the population has rebounded due to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which restricted hunting.
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