About This Animal
SIZE: Up to 2 feet tall; 38-45 inch wingspan
RANGE: Southeastern coast of the US; most of Central and South America
HABITAT: areas with thick vegetation like marshes and swamps
DIET: Predominately fish, plus frogs, snakes, crabs and crayfish
The snowy egret is one of the most attractive of the heron family. They are patient, stealthy hunters. Studies have shown, however, that herons and egrets consume only a small amount of large game fish. The birds are actually beneficial as they create a culling effect by feeding mostly on small fish.
Sporting breeding feathers of long filamentous plumes on the back, lower neck, or head, the herons and egrets have paid a high price for their beauty. The fashions of the late 1800s and early 1900s made the birds’ plumes highly sought after and very costly. During this period, heron populations plummeted to a dangerous level reaching their lowest numbers in the early 1900s. In 1916 herons and egrets gained protection under the law with the presidential signing of the international agreement called the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.