snowy egret

The snowy egret is a beautiful sight. An adult egret is distinguished by its dark slender beak, long black legs, and yellow feet. Perhaps the most notable feature on a snowy egret are the showy plumes, or feathers, that grow on its head and back. In fact, the great demand for these beautiful plumes almost led to the birds' extinction. Today, the snowy egret is protected from hunters under the Endangered Species Act.

snowy egret
Scientific name: Egretta thula
Size: about 20 to 27 inches tall
Weight: up to 13 ounces
Habitat: marshes, swamps, and coastal areas along the east coast of North and South America
Diet: fish, shrimp, crabs, amphibians, and insects
Characteristics: white body, black bill, yellow feet

Image credits: main image, courtesy of AMNH Department of Library Services.