Great Egret: Species Profile

Great Egret

Second only to the Great Blue Heron in size, the Great Egret (Casmerodius albus), sometimes called the Great White Egret, is one of the largest of the wading birds that inhabit the Everglades. Standing over 4 feet in height with a wingspan of more than 50 inches, it is similar in appearance to the Snowy Egret but can be distinguished by its long black legs, black feet, stout yellow bill, and tremendous size. The Snowy Egret is smaller than the Great Egret and has a black bill and yellow feet.

The Great Egret also is often mistakenly identified as the Great White Heron, which is the white form of the Great Blue Heron. The heavier bill and pale legs of the Great White Heron are useful distinguishing characteristics. Like other herons, the Great Egret flies slowly and with its neck retracted, which is an easy way to distinguish it in flight from storks, cranes, ibises, and spoonbills, which extend their necks in flight.


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