Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret by David J. L'Hoste
© David J. L'Hoste
Egretta thula
The Snowy Egret's immaculate white attire, with its adornment of delicate lacelike plumes, which it displays at the nest, harmonizes with its graceful form to make it one of the loveliest of all birds. It breeds commonly throughout the state, but the largest colonies, those comprising thousands of individuals, are in southern Louisiana. The number remaining in the coastal marshes in winter varies considerably, being large in some years and comparatively small in others. For example, on the Sabine Christmas Bird Count of 1956 only 18 were noted, but the following year 438 were tallied. In the interior of the state the species is rare or absent from November to mid-March.
The species is about one-half the size of the Great Egret and, like it, has black legs and tarsi. But the toes of the Snowy Egret are yellow instead of black. It also resembles the immature Little Blue Heron, which is all-white except for the dusky-tipped primaries; the legs and the feet of the Little Blue are greenish yellow. It is also similar to the Cattle Egret; but in the latter the bill is never black, and the size is appreciably smaller.--George H. Lowery, Jr., 1974, Louisiana Birds

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