Snowy Egret in Breeding Plumage

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snowy egret on a branch
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The Snowy Egret (egretta thula) is a small white member of the Heron family. In breeding season, the yellow feet turn orange, and the yellow area above the beak becomes a bright pink. A mantle of lacy plumes develops on the head, neck, and back. Snowy egrets do not recognize each other, even when they are mates. When a bird arrives at the nest to take over incubation from its mate, it must perform an elaborate greeting ceremony involving raising the plumes and bowing to the sitting bird or it will be attacked as an intruder.