skip to content

Egretta thula

Snowy Egret

  • Order: Pelecaniformes
  • Family: Ardeidae


The Snowy Egret is the widespread small egret of wetlands in the New World. It is entirely white with a black bill and bright yellow lores. Its plumes or “aigrettes” are long and shaggy, on the nape and neck, the legs are black with bright yellow feet. During the height of the display season the lores become orange and the feet are reddish-orange; this display color lasts only a few days. Snowy Egrets breed in colonial situations, usually in a patch of trees adjacent to a wetland. They may nest in mixed colonies with various other long-legged waders. The display of the Snowy Egret includes a wonderful ruffling of their “aigrette” feathers on the crown, neck and back. These displays occur at the nesting colony, so are seldom seen by most birders. The Snowy Egret is found from the central United States south to central Chile and Argentina, it is found throughout the New World in all types of aquatic habitats being absent only from high elevations. It is common in marshes of all types, river banks, muddy pools, lakeshores, but less so along coasts. It is common in estuary situations, but avoids the open coasts away from stream mouths although sometimes it forages from quiet rocky areas.

Help complete this species

There are many ways to contribute — we need species information, photographs, audio, video, translations, maps, distribution data, and bird sightings. There's a role for everyone!

Learn more

Recommended Citation

. 2010. Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:
  • Primary Habitat:
  • Foraging Strata:
  • Foraging Behavior:
  • Diet:
  • Sociality:
  • Mating System:
  • Nest Form:
  • Clutch: -
  • IUCN Status: