Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret
(Egretta thula)

Order:  Pelecaniformes
Family:  Ardeidae

Photo © Don DesJardin

Snowy Egret Information

Length:  20 - 27"

Habitat:  Edges of lakes, ponds, and rivers; mudflats, freshwater and saltwater marshes, wooded swamps, shallow coastal bays, estuaries, mangroves, rice fields. Sometimes feeds in dry fields.

Diet:  Small fish, shrimp, crayfish, snails, crabs, snakes, lizards, frogs, aquatic insects, some terrestrial insects.

  Calls of the Snowy Egret

Additional Information

Snowy Egret
Habitat, diet, feeding behavior, nesting, migration, and conservation status of this bird. Includes range map, photos, and songs and calls. (From Audubon Field Guide)

Snowy Egret on Nest

Snowy Egret on Nest

B. Gruenberg [CC BY-SA 3.0], via WC

Snowy Egret
Identification Tips

  • Sexes similar
  • Medium-sized long-legged wading bird
  • Usually holds necks in "S" curve in flight
  • Entirely white plumage
  • Thin black bill and yellow facial skin
  • Black legs with yellow feet
  • Shaggy plumes on head, neck, and back in alternate plumage
  • Yellow stripe up the back of the black legs ,and yellow feet
  • With pale-based bill when they leave nest, becomes black during autumn
  • Lacks shaggy head, neck and back plumes

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Breeding Bird Survey Map,

Snowy Egret Breeding Map

(Image credit: USGS)

Range in New England

In New England, the Snowy Egret breeds along the coasts of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and southern Maine.

These birds migrate south in the fall, although there have been occasional reports of overwintering very locally along the New England coast.

Map from Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Range of Snowy Egret

Christmas Bird Count Map
Historical CBC Map from USGS