The Brandywine Zoo has three Snowy Egrets which were acquired from the St. Louis Zoo in 2021.
Common along the coast in salt marshes estuaries, as well as inland for breeding habitat near rivers, lakes, and marshes.
GEOGRAPHIC REGION & RANGE
Found throughout North, Central, and South America.
Mostly aquatic animals, including fish, frogs, worms, crustaceans, and insects.
Medium-sized herons with long, thin legs and long, slender, bills. Adult snowy egrets have entirely white plumage, with a black bill, black legs, and yellow feet and eyes. Breeding adults develop long, delicate plumes off their breast and are also characterized by their change in foot color, from yellow to orange.
Their biggest threat is habitat loss: more than 100 million acres of wetlands in the U.S. have been drained since colonial times. Since Snowy Egrets spend more time feeding than many other herons, they may be especially sensitive to environmental changes that reduce available prey. Urbanization of nesting and foraging habitat are also concerns. Populations appear to be declining along the Atlantic coast due to pollution and competition with other bird species.
Snowy egrets are one of three white herons that visit the Chesapeake Bay region.
Long, wispy plumage grows on the snowy egret’s back, neck and head during breeding season.
In the 1800s, snowy egret populations were decimated due to the popularity of these plumes in fashion.
What are AZA Zoos doing for Snowy Egrets?
There are 24 managed species in the Ciconiiformes, Phoenicopteriformes, and Pelecaniformes TAG, as of 2021, which is what egrets fall under.