The snowy egret is about two feet in length and has a wingspan of
about three feet. It has white feathers, a yellow patch of skin
around its eyes, a black bill and black legs with bright yellow
feet. In breeding season, it has lacy plumes on its head, neck and
back. Males and females look alike.
The snowy egret breeds on the Atlantic Coast, the Pacific Coast
and the Gulf Coast. It is also found in some inland areas. It winters
from California south to South America on the west coast and from
Virginia south to the West Indies on the east coast.
The snowy egret can be found in marshes, swamps, shorelines, mudflats
The snowy egret runs after its food. It eats shrimp, minnows and
other small fish, crustaceans and frogs. It often feeds in groups.
The male selects a breeding area. Both the male and female build
the nest. The male collects the materials and the female does the
constructing. The nest is made of reeds and twigs and is placed
in a bush or on the ground. The female lays three to five eggs and
both parents share incubation duties. The eggs hatch in about three
weeks. Both parents care for the chicks and feed them regurgitated
food. The chicks fledge when they are about a month old.
Like other egrets, the snowy egret was once killed for its plumes.
Its population was seriously damaged in the 1800's. It has made
a recovery and is no longer hunted.