Snowy Egret: Medium-sized white egret with a slender black bill and long thin neck. They have a patch of yellow skin at the base of the bill. Legs are long and black, while feet are bright yellow. Head, neck and back have long, lacy plumes during breeding season. Bare parts are brighter during breeding season. Winter adult lacks ornamental plumes. Sexes are similar. Juveniles have a shorter crest and lack dorsal plumes; duller, greenish legs. Eastern egrets have a bushier crest and a more upturned dorsal aigrette.
Range and Habitat
Snowy Egret: Breeds locally from Oregon and California east to southern New England, mainly along coastlines. Spends winters regularly from California, Arizona, and Virginia south to the West Indies, throughout Mexico, and into South America. Preferred habitats include marshes, ponds, swamps, and mudflats.
Breeding and Nesting
Snowy Egret: Lays two to six pale blue-green eggs in a platform nest built primarily of twigs and built in a tree, usually about 7 feet above the ground; occasionally nests in marsh grass and rarely on the ground. Both parents incubate eggs for 18 days.
Foraging and Feeding
Snowy Egret: Their diet includes a variety of prey items including worms, aquatic and terrestrial insects, crabs, shrimp, crayfish, other crustaceans, snails, freshwater and marine fish, frogs, toads, snakes and lizards. They forage by walking slowly or standing motionless in the water and striking at prey in salt-marsh pools, tidal channels, freshwater marshes, ocean inlets and lake margins.
Snowy Egret: Common call is a low croak. When in a colony, emits a bubbling "wulla-wulla-wulla."
Snowy Egret: Great Egret and "Great White" Heron are larger with thicker, yellow bills. Cattle Egret is smaller with yellow or orange bill and pale legs. Reddish Egret and Juvenile Little Blue Heron have dark-tipped pale bills and gray legs.