Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

name = Snowy Egret

image_width = 200px
status = LC
status_system = iucn3.1
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
subclassis = Neornithes
infraclassis = Neognathae
superordo = Neoaves
ordo = Ciconiiformes
familia = Ardeidae
genus = "Egretta"
species = "E. thula"
binomial = "Egretta thula"
binomial_authority = (Molina, 1782)
synonyms ="Leucophoyx thula"

The Snowy Egret ("Egretta thula") is a small white heron. It is the American counterpart to the very similar Old World Little Egret, which has established a foothold in the Bahamas.

Adults are typically 61 cm long and weigh 375 g. They have a slim black bill and long black legs with yellow feet. The area of the upper bill, in front of the eyes, is yellow but turns red during the breeding season, when the adults also gain recurved plumes on the back, making for a "shaggy" effect. The juvenile looks similar to the adult, but the base of the bill is paler, and a green or yellow line runs down the back of the legs.

Their breeding habitat is large inland and coastal wetlands from the lower Great Lakes and southwestern United States to South America. The breeding range in eastern North America extends along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts from Maine to Texas, and inland along major rivers and lakes. They nest in colonies, often with other waders, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. Their flat, shallow nests are made of sticks and lined with fine twigs and rushes. Three to four greenish-blue, oval eggs are incubated by both adults. The young leave the nest in 20 to 25 days and hop about on branches near the nest before finally departing.

In warmer locations, some Snowy Egret are permanent residents; northern populations migrate to Central America and the West Indies. They may wander north after the breeding season, very rarely venturing to western Europe—the first bird sighted in Britain wintered in Scotland from 2001–2002.

The birds eat fish, crustaceans, and insects. They stalk prey in shallow water, often running or shuffling their feet, flushing prey into view, as well "dip-fishing" by flying with their feet just over the water. Snowy Egrets may also stand still and wait to ambush prey, or hunt for insects stirred up by domestic animals in open fields.

At one time, the beautiful plumes of the Snowy Egret were in great demand by market hunters as decorations for women's hats. This reduced the population of the species to dangerously low levels.

Now it is protected by law, under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, this bird's population has rebounded.


* Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
* Stiles and Skutch, "A guide to the birds of Costa Rica" ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
* National Geographic, "Field Guide to the Birds of North America" ISBN 0-7922-6877-6

External links

* [ Snowy Egret Species Account] - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
* [ Snowy Egret "Egretta thula"] - USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
* [ Snowy Egret Information and Photos] - South Dakota Birds and Birding
* [ Field Guide on Flickr]
* [ Egret photos by Nick Chill]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • snowy egret — n. a white, medium sized, migratory egret (Egretta thula) with black legs and yellow feet, usually living in colonies in marshland ranging from the U.S. to Chile and Argentina …   English World dictionary

  • snowy egret — snieginis garnys statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Egretta thula angl. snowy egret vok. Schmuckreiher, m rus. белая американская цапля, f pranc. aigrette neigeuse, f ryšiai: platesnis terminas – baltieji garniai …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • snowy egret — noun small New World egret • Syn: ↑snowy heron, ↑Egretta thula • Hypernyms: ↑egret • Member Holonyms: ↑Egretta, ↑genus Egretta …   Useful english dictionary

  • snowy egret — a white egret, Egretta thula, of the warmer parts of the Western Hemisphere: formerly hunted in great numbers for its plumes, the species is now protected and has recovered. [1890 95, Amer.] * * * White New World egret (Egretta thula; family… …   Universalium

  • snowy egret — noun Date: 1859 a white American egret (Egretta thula) having a slender black bill, black legs, and yellow feet …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • snowy egret — snow′y e′gret n. orn a white egret, Egretta thula, of the warmer parts of the Western Hemisphere: formerly hunted for its plumes …   From formal English to slang

  • snowy egret — noun A small heron, Egretta thula, having white plumage …   Wiktionary

  • Egret — E gret, n. [See {Aigret}, {Heron}.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) The name of several species of herons which bear plumes on the back. They are generally white. Among the best known species are the American egret ({Ardea egretta} syn. {Herodias egretta}); the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • snowy heron — noun small New World egret • Syn: ↑snowy egret, ↑Egretta thula • Hypernyms: ↑egret • Member Holonyms: ↑Egretta, ↑genus Egretta * * * noun see …   Useful english dictionary

  • Egret — This is an article about a type of bird. For the EGRET satellite mission, see Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope. Taxobox name = Egret image width = 250px image caption = regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Aves ordo =… …   Wikipedia

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