Snowy Egret
(Egretta thula)


Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen (
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

There have been scattered sightings of Snowy Egrets during the breeding season in Atlantic Canada (Parsons and Master 2000). In Ontario, one nest was confirmed during the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario (Cadman et al. 2007), and the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas (2010-2014) confirmed breeding in one location and possible breeding in four other locations, a first for the province (DeSmet 2018). Data from monitoring programs in Canada are too sparse to infer any population trends relative to 1970; the species is therefore considered to be "Data Deficient". Both increases and decreases have been observed in breeding colonies in the United States (Parsons and Master 2000).


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Critically imperiled2015 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaData DeficientData DeficientData Deficient

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada< 100 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

Snowy Egret numbers declined strongly with hunting and plume-collecting at the turn of the last century, but showed a strong rebound once conservation measures were implemented (Parsons and Master 2000). The species is peripheral in Canada. Current threats in the United States include the presence of pesticides and other contaminants in wetland habitats. Abundance may be additionally limited by the availability of suitable nesting habitat (island sites within ~10km of wetland habitats for foraging; Parsons and Master 2000).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type