Identifying white wading birds

1. Establish relative size

2. Look at the legs and bills to separate the ones that are the same size

3. Determine habitat. Among the smaller birds, the Little Blue Heron and Snowy Egret will usually be around water; the White Ibis will be around water but occasionally in wet yards and muddy areas; the Cattle Egret will be in drier, open areas but not usually in yards or mud

4. Hunting techniques differ. The Wood Stork and White Ibis are tactile feeders (hunt by touch) while the others are visual hunters (hunt by sight).


Larger white birds (right)

Great Egret (background)

Wood Stork (foreground)

Great Blue Heron, white morph (not shown-- not seen from boardwalk; a really big white bird almost a foot taller than the Great Egret or Wood Stork)



Smaller white birds (below)

Little Blue Heron, immature (left)

Snowy Egret (center)

White Ibis (right)

Cattle Egret (not shown -- won't be in same habitat as three above)