Second in size, smaller only than Great White Heron, the Great Egret is consistent in appearance across all ages. It is easily identified by the combination of its large size, black legs, and stout orange-yellow bill, but some show a black-tipped bill. Slender, long necked, tall, and graceful in bearing, it is deliberate in its movements, frequently foraging with its bill held horizontal or tilted skyward. Great Egrets inhabit saltwater or freshwater, attend mixed heron flocks, and often associate with Snowy Egrets. But they will also form moderately large homogeneous flocks, and sometimes they frequent drier pastoral habitats. A widespread species, Great Egret is common along most coastlines and even inland in many places, as well as north into southern Canada.
Adults: Great Egret lacks head plumes. During breeding, the lores become rich green, and the long back (scapular) plumes become evident; the latter at times are stained buffy or brownish. Nonbreeders are similar but lack back plumes, the lores are duskier yellow, and the legs are duskier and less richly black.
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