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A stole of Great Egrets in formation. The great egret is a large heron with all-white plumage. Standing up to 1 m (3.3 ft) tall, this species can measure 80 to 104 cm (31 to 41 in) in length and have a wingspan of 131 to 170 cm (52 to 67 in). Body mass can range from 700 to 1,500 g (1.5 to 3.3 lb), with an average of around 1,000 g (2.2 lb). It is thus only slightly smaller than the great blue or grey heron (A. cinerea). Apart from size, the great egret can be distinguished from other white egrets by its yellow bill and black legs and feet, though the bill may become darker and the lower legs lighter in the breeding season. In breeding plumage, delicate ornamental feathers are borne on the back.
Spotted in Yogjakarta, the Great Egret is a large, widely distributed egret, with four subspecies found in Asia, Africa, America, and Europe. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world, in southern Europe it is rather localized but more widely distributed in North America. It builds tree nests in colonies close to water.