Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Larry Dalton and Laura Romin
Photo Copyright Larry Dalton and Laura Romin

The breeding range of the snowy egret, Egretta thula, extends from the northern Untied States to Argentina. Northern populations migrate south to warmer areas for winter. Major wintering areas include California, the southern United States (especially the Gulf Coast), Mexico, Central America, and South America. The snowy egret is a common breeder in Utah; it leaves the state prior to winter.

The snowy egret prefers marshes, lakes, and coast-lines. Nesting is colonial, with nests being built on the ground, in emergent wetland vegetation, or in trees. A clutch of four or five eggs is laid by the female and then incubated by both parents for about three weeks. Young leave the nest at 20 to 25 days of age. The snowy egret eats small animals, both vertebrates (such as fishes) and invertebrates (such as insects), that are captured in shallow water or in fields.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.