Compare it with Little Egret and immature Little Blue Heron. Each white heron has a distinctive “GISS” [or general impression of size & shape]. It is also known as the Great White Egret, the American Egret, the Large Egret or Common Egret. The bill and the shaggy mane of plumes on the head and neck are the adult’s most distinctive features, but these are less noticeable in late summer to winter, when the bill color is muted, though still bicolored. Though structurally they are very similar, Little Egret is more slender, with a slightly longer, more daggerlike bill. In part because dark morphs predominate, the white morphs are subject to neglect by unwary birders, especially vagrants away from the Gulf region. Immatures: These lack plumes and have less richly colored bare parts, and usually darker bills, with a darker maxilla and mostly yellow mandible. Native: Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola; Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Armenia; Aruba; Australia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahamas; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belarus; Belgium; Belize; Benin; Bermuda; Bhutan; Bolivia; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brazil; Brunei Darussalam; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Cameroon; Canada; Cayman Islands; Central African Republic; Chad; Chile; China; Christmas Island; Colombia; Comoros; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Costa Rica; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cuba; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); France; French Guiana; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Greece; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guam; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Hong Kong; Hungary; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Italy; Jamaica; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Latvia; Lebanon; Lesotho; Liberia; Libyan Arab Jamahiriya; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Mali; Martinique; Mauritania; Mayotte; Mexico; Micronesia, Federated States of; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Montserrat; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Netherlands; Netherlands Antilles; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Niger; Nigeria; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Rwanda; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Suriname; Swaziland; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Togo; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Turks and Caicos Islands; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United States; Uruguay; Uzbekistan; Venezuela; Viet Nam; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe. Another Facebook friend, Kim (who lives in Florida is a very knowledgeable wildlife watcher), correctly identified the bird in Tavie’s photo as a great egret. It is very similar in habits to Snowy Egret, but generally, Little is slightly less animated when feeding. Editor’s note: The following in-depth treatment of the white herons and egrets of North America is excerpted from Better Birding: Tips, Tools & Concepts for the Field, by George Armistead and Brian Sullivan (Princeton University Press). Herons usually fly with their necks retracted (coiled, unlike ibis, storks, and cranes) but occasionally extend their necks during shorter flights. When they forage, the bill is usually pointed down (not horizontally). Their colonization of North America was perhaps initially fed by east winds carrying these birds from North Africa across the Atlantic to the southern Caribbean (Barbados is often the first point of land encountered by such birds, and from there they could have spread north).