Guardian Nature School Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global citizen science platform
to discover, share and identify wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Nature School For Teachers - Fall 2020 Launch! visit nature school

great white egret

Ardea alba egretta


found this egret at george bush reservoir along the buffalo bayou, houston looking for food. 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. Males and females are identical in appearance; juveniles look like non-breeding adults. It is a common species, usually easily seen. It has a slow flight, with its neck retracted. This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, cranes, ibises, and spoonbills, which extend their necks in flight. The Great Egret is not normally a vocal bird; at breeding colonies, however, it often gives a loud croaking cuk cuk cuk.


Great Egret is partially migratory, with northern hemisphere birds moving south from areas with colder winters. It breeds in colonies in trees close to large lakes with reed beds or other extensive wetlands. It builds a bulky stick nest. The Great Egret feeds in shallow water or drier habitats, feeding mainly on fish, frogs, small mammals, and occasionally small reptiles and insects, spearing them with its long, sharp bill most of the time by standing still and allowing the prey to come within its striking distance of its bill which it uses as a spear. It will often wait motionless for prey, or slowly stalk its victim.


Family: Ardeidae Genus: Ardea Species: A. alba

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


SusanEllison 9 years ago

Thanks Melissa

MelissaFerguson 9 years ago

Great photo's, Susan!

SusanEllison 9 years ago

Hi birdlady...can you tell me which is which so I can post them separately. thanks

birdlady6000 9 years ago

Hi! I see that you have a Snowy Egret and a Great Egret on the same spotting. Lovely photos!!

SusanEllison 9 years ago

@ Alice: did i just post both a great white and a snowy egret? one with yellow feet w/ black beak and one with black feet w/ yellow beak. I shot two egrets at different location on the same bayou.

Spotted by

Houston, Texas, USA

Spotted on Jun 19, 2011
Submitted on Jun 19, 2011

Spotted for Mission

Related Spottings

Garça (Ardea cinerea) Ardea cinerea Grey Heron Great Egret

Nearby Spottings

fairy fan flower orchid chinese balloon verbena


Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors