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Great Egret (Ardea alba) in flight at Islamorada, Florida.
The Great Egret (Ardea alba), also known as the Great White Egret or Common Egret, is a large, widely-distributed egret. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world, in southern Europe it is rather localized. In North America it is more widely distributed, and it is ubiquitous across the Sun Belt of the United States and in the rainforests of South America. It is sometimes confused with the Great White Heron in Florida, which is a white morph of the closely related Great Blue Heron (A. herodias). The Great Egret is a large bird with all-white plumage that can reach one meter in height, weigh up to 950 grams (2.1 lb) and a wingspan of 165 to 215 cm (65 to 85 in). 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. 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. (Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Egret...)