If you are birding in Louisiana, you may have seen many fascinating white birds. How many of them, were you able to identify correctly?
In this article, I have listed 15 different white bird species that you can see in Louisiana. Continue reading to see whether you have correctly ID the white birds you saw and whether there are any more birds to add to your checklist.
Out of the 15 different bird species I discussed here, 13 are all-white birds with entire white plumage. From them, four are white morphs of different birds. The last two birds listed are primarily white in color but they have some other colors in their plumage.
- White Birds in Louisiana (All-white Birds)
- 1. White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)
- 2. Great Egret (Ardea alba)
- 3. Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
- 4. Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
- 5. American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
- 6. Juvenile Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
- 7. Wood Stork (Mycteria Americana)
- 8. Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)
- 9. Whooping Crane (Grus Americana)
- 10. Great Blue Heron (White Morph) (Ardea herodias)
- 11. Snow Goose (White Morph) (Anser caerulescens)
- 12. Ross’s Goose (White Morph) (Anser rossii)
- 13. Rock Pigeon (White Morph) (Columba livia)
- Birds in Louisiana That Look Mostly White (Primarily White)
- More Facts about White Birds in Louisiana!
- Wrapping Up…
White Birds in Louisiana (All-white Birds)
Most of them are common birds in Louisiana. If you haven’t seen any of these yet, insert them to the top of the list. You should be able to tick them off in no time.
1. White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)
How to identify White Ibis (Quickly)
- Body: Adults are white with a little black on the wingtips. It has red facial skin.
- Bill: Long downward-curved orange-red bill (distinctive feature)
- Leg color: Pinkish-red
White Ibis is one of the distinctive white birds you will see here. It has a long, decurved beak and white plumage. White Ibis forages in shallow wetlands and salt marshes. It can be frequently seen flying in groups. And it nests in large colonies.
White Ibises are not shy birds and can often be seen close to humans. Females are similar to males in appearance but smaller in size. And also, their bills are less curved than males. However, immatures are half brown and half white.
You can see them year-round in southern parts of Louisiana and during migration in other regions. but do not go far north, close to the border since they occur less frequently there.
2. Great Egret (Ardea alba)
How to identify Great Egret (Quickly)
- Body: It is an all-white bird having a tall and thin body, larger in size than other egrets (about twice the size of the Cattle Egret). It has an S-shaped long neck
- Leg color: Black
- Bill: Long dagger-shaped bill is yellow in color (Great Egrets in the Americas have yellow bills)
Great Egret is one of the most common wading birds in North America. And you can see them wading in shallow water or standing in open fields looking for prey.
Great Egret forages in shallow ponds, lakes, rivers, and wetland habitats in search of small fish. They are often seen alone rather than in flocks. However, it breeds in colonies, mostly mixing with other egrets and herons.
Great Egrets are considered non-migrators or partial migrators when it migrates to their North American range. But, in Louisiana, you can see them year-round in the south and central regions and in the north during the breeding season.
3. Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
How to identify Snowy Egret (Quickly)
- Body: It is an all-white bird with an S-shaped neck. During the breeding season, it gets long lacy plumes on the head, neck, and back.
- Leg color: Black legs
- Feet color: Bright yellow (non-breeding), Orange-red (breeding)
- Bill: Black color bill with yellow (orange-red in breeding season) patch at the base of the bill
In the late 1800s, Snowy Egrets were hunted near extinction for their feathers. But now, they are fairly common widespread species across the United States. And, you can often see them mixing with other egrets in estuarine and freshwater habitats.
Snowy Egrets are common in a variety of wetlands and often mix with other egrets. When searching for food, it uses wing-flicking, foot-stirring, and foot-probing to get its prey moving and actively hunts prey.
You can see them year-round in the southern region of Louisiana. And, check for them during the breeding season in other areas except the northwest where you can most probably see them during migration.
4. Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
How to identify Cattle Egret (Quickly)
- Body: It is an all-white bird with a comparatively shorter neck and legs. In the breeding season, adults get Oakley yellow feathers on the crown, chest, and back
- Leg color: Dark (close to black) in the non-breeding season and yellow or reddish in the breeding season
- Bill: Stout dagger-shaped bill. Color is yellow (non-breeding) or red-orange (breeding)
Cattle Egrets are grassland species that rarely get their feet wet. It is mainly seen in dry habitats. Often it associates with livestock, feeding insects exposed from their feet or following tractors in fields.
Cattle Egrets are partial migrators and can be seen year-round in the south and central regions of Louisiana. And you can see them during the breeding season in the northern regions.
you can see them year-round in the south and central regions and in the north during the breeding season.
5. American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
How to identify American White Pelican (Quickly)
- Body: Large white body and white head with black outer wing feathers
- Bill: Huge long bill with an expandable throat pouch. Breeding adults have a ridge on the bill. Bill is orange-yellow in breeding birds and turns duller yellow in the nonbreeding season.
American White Pelican forages usually in groups on lakes, and slow reservoirs. It swims together and beats its wings in coordinated movements to drive fish into shallow water. They dip their bills simultaneously into the water to catch fish.
Most of its population has concentrated in just a small number of large colonies in isolated wetland complexes.
American White Pelicans can fly long distances and it is one of the largest birds to do so. It spends winters in coastal regions from California and Texas to Mexico and Central America.
But, if you want to see them in Louisiana, you can check in central and south regions in the non-breeding season and in the north during the migration.
6. Juvenile Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
How to identify Juvenile Little Blue Heron (Quickly)
- Body: They are similar to Snowy Egret. All-white plumage, S-shape neck, and small in size. Even though they have black wing tips, it is unnoticeable.
- Bill: Only tip of the bill is black (Snowy Egret’s entire bill is black), Dagger-shaped bill
- Leg color: Pale greenish (Snowy Egrets have black legs)
Juvenile Little Blue Herons can be seen in open wetlands in groups. Its preferred foraging habitats include shallow marshes, lagoons, and other shallow fresh or salt water. When nesting, they mix with other wading species groups.
Similar to Snowy Egrets, you can see Little Blue Herons year-round in south Louisiana and in other areas during the breeding season.
7. Wood Stork (Mycteria Americana)
How to identify Wood Stork (Quickly)
- Body: Head and upper neck of the Wood Stork are featherless and blackish in color. It has a white body with black flight feathers.
- Bill: Long downward-curved dark bill
- Leg color: Blackish gray
Wood Stork is a large white wading bird. And, it is the only stork that breeds in North America. They breed in Florida to North Carolina.
Wood Storks mostly forage in coastal areas, swamps, marshes, and forested freshwater. When feeding, it stirs the water bottom from its feet and feels the movement of fish and prey from the bill.
You can see Wood Storks in south Louisiana in the non-breeding season.
8. Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)
How to identify Northern Gannet (Quickly)
- Body: Northern Gannet is a large white bird with black wing tips. The back of the head and neck are tinged with yellow. Wings and tails are pointed and long. It has light blue eyes.
- Bill: Long heavy dagger-like bill. Grey in color.
Northern Gannet is a large seabird on the coasts of the Atlantic ocean. They are famous for their headfirst spectacular plunge dives for foraging individually or as large flocks. It takes several years for them to get snowy white plumage.
Since Northern Gannets are seabirds, their typical habitat is the ocean. But, due to their larger size and stays not far from the shore, you can see them from shore. They nest in inaccessible cliffs in northeastern marine areas of North America.
In Louisiana, you can see them on the coastline during the non-breeding season.
9. Whooping Crane (Grus Americana)
How to identify Whooping Crane (Quickly)
- Body: Pure white tall body with a long neck. Distinctive dark red mask behind the bill.
- Bill: Long dark straight bill. Behind the bill, it has a distinctive red crown and red patch.
- Legs: Long gray-black legs
Whooping Crane is the rarest of 15 crane species worldwide. And, it is one of two native cranes in North America. In the mid-20th century, it was endangered with only a few dozen birds.
Whooping Crane prefers marshy habitats. They are usually in family groups of three or more.
If you are in Louisiana, you are lucky since there is a Louisiana population of Whooping Cranes that stay there year-round. Check out the actual occurrences of Whooping Cranes in ebird.
But, it is an endangered bird species, so, it is rare to see even in Louisiana.
10. Great Blue Heron (White Morph) (Ardea herodias)
How to identify Great Blue Heron (White Morph) (Quickly)
- Body: All white plumage. Large body with an S-shaped long neck.
- Bill: yellow heavy bill
- Legs: Grayish yellow in color (This helps to separate them from Great Egrets that have entire black legs)
The white morph of the Greate Blue Heron (also known as the Great White Heron) has entirely white plumage. Its appearance is quite similar to Great Egret.
But, Great White Heron is larger in size and has grayish-yellow color legs whereas the Great Egret has entire black legs with yellow feet. Additionally, Great White Herons have heavy larger bills than Great Egrets.
Great White Herons can be seen in wetlands such as marshes to swamps, but primarily in saltwater habitats. You can see them year-round in Louisiana.
11. Snow Goose (White Morph) (Anser caerulescens)
How to identify Snow Goose (White Morph) (Quickly)
- Body: It has a medium size white body with a long neck. The head is white and looks extended. Wing tips are black. There is a yellowish strain on the face in most of them.
- Bill: Black patch on the pink long bill
- Legs: Pink legs
There are two completely different color morphs of Snow Goose; blue and white. Since white morph is more common, you have a greater chance to see them.
Marshes, ponds, bays, and agricultural fields are usual habitats of Snow Goose. When migrating, they fly as flocks in thousands in number. They breed in the arctic tundra, near Hudson Bay. They winter in coastal and inland areas towards the south.
In Louisiana, you can see them in all regions during the non-breeding season.
12. Ross’s Goose (White Morph) (Anser rossii)
How to identify Ross’s Goose (White Morph) (Quickly)
- Body: Smaller white body with black wing tips. Shorter neck.
- Bill: Short triangular-shaped reddish bill. The base edge of the bill is straight (quite distinctive)
- Legs: Reddish pink legs
Ross’s Goose also has blue and white color morphs. And also, similar to Snow Goose, the blue form is rare and the white form is comparatively common.
Lakes, Marshes, and ponds are the preferred habitats of Ross’s Goose in migration and winter. And, they breed in the arctic tundra. Mostly, they can be seen as flocks mixing with Snow Gooses.
You can do birding in the north or southwest regions of Louisiana during the non-breeding season to see Ross’s Goose.
13. Rock Pigeon (White Morph) (Columba livia)
How to identify Rock Pigeon (White Morph) (Quickly)
- Body: The size of the Rock Pigeon is a little smaller than the crow. Appeared tubby due to a heavy chest. White plumage in white morphs.
- Bill: Dark shorter bills
- Legs: Short reddish legs
Rock Pigeons have widely spread all over the continent. Among the most common blue-gray pigeon with black wing bars, you can spot other varieties with variable plumage in colors such as black, white, rusty-red, and variations of those.
Usually, they can be seen in many urban setups. Flocks of pigeons in public places such as public squares (eating waste food) are not a rare sight in most cities. But, their original habitat is sea cliffs.
Birds in Louisiana That Look Mostly White (Primarily White)
Some birds have plumage mixed with two or more colors. But when they are in flight or sight from far, their primary color is prominent and birders, especially beginners, tend to identify them from it.
Hence, I have provided bird identification guides for birds whose primary color is white and appear to be white but not all-white. These are mostly white birds that can be seen in Louisiana.
14. Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
How to identify Ring-billed Gull (Quickly)
- Bill: Black band on yellow bill (most distinguishable feature)
- Body: Medium-size gulls. Breeding adults have pure white heads while nonbreeding adults have brown streaks on white heads. Their belly, breast, and underwing are white. They have a gray back and white spots on black wing tips.
- Legs: Pale yellow (nonbreeding) or yellowish or greenish (breeding)
Ring-billed Gull is one of the most common birds in North America. You may have probably seen them even in an urban setup.
Ring-billed Gulls can be mostly seen in lakes, ponds, rivers, and beaches. But, it is not rare sight if you see them scavenge in parking lots.
In Louisiana, you can see them during the non-breeding season in all parts of the state.
15. Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
How to identify Herring Gull (Quickly)
- Bill: Large yellow bill with a red spot (distinguishable feature)
- Body: Large-size gulls. Breeding adults have pure white heads while nonbreeding adults have brown streaks on white heads and necks. Their belly, breast, and underwing are white. They have a gray back and white spots on black wing tips.
- Legs: Pink in color
Herring Gulls are large size gulls that are also referred to mostly as ‘Seagulls’.
Herring Gulls occur in coastal areas and islands, near water bodies such as lakes, ponds, and rivers. They breed in the northeastern US and Canada and migrate to the southern region in winter. Therefore, the best time to look for them in Louisiana is in winter.
More Facts about White Birds in Louisiana!
You can check out the best region in Louisiana and the best time of the year to spot each of the 15 white birds listed. And, if you prefer more range data, check in All About Birds.
And also I have mentioned the length (tip of the bill to tip of the tail length) and the wingspan and food of each bird.
|White Bird||Length||Wingspan||Food||Place and time of the year to see them in Louisiana|
|White Ibis||about 25 inches||about 38 inches||Aquatic insects, crustaceans, fish, frogs||South regions – year-round|
Other regions – migration
|Great Egret||about 39 inches||about 6 ft||Small fish, aquatic insects, frogs, crayfish||South and central – year-round|
North – breeding
|Snowy Egret||about 24 inches||about 42 inches||Aquatic insects and small fish, amphibians, and snakes||South – year-round|
Northwest – migration
Other regions – breeding
|Cattle Egret||about 20 inches||about 31 inches||Insects, spiders, frogs||South and central – year-round|
North – breeding
|American White Pelican||4.5 – 5.5 ft||7.75 – 9.5 ft||Mainly small fish, small amphibians||Central and south regions– non-breeding|
North – migration
|Juvenile Little Blue Heron||about 24 inches||about 39 inches||Crayfish, crabs, small fish, insects, and amphibians||South – year-round|
Other regions – breeding
|Wood Stork||about 39 inches||about 5 ft||Fish, scrab, and insects (aquatic prey)||South region – non-breeding|
|Northern Gannet||33– 42 inches||about 5.5 ft||Mackerel, herring, capelin, and cod||Coastline – non-breeding|
|Whooping Crane||4 – 4.5 ft||about 7.25 ft||Insects, small mammals, fish, fruits, seeds||Mid-central and southern regions – year-round|
|Great Blue Heron (White Morph)||33 – 51 inches||5.25 – 6.5 ft||They prefer fish||All regions – year-round|
|Snow Goose (White Morph)||27 – 33 inches||4.25 – 5.5 ft||stems, leaves, seeds, and roots of different grass species in aquatic or terrestrial habitats||All regions – non-breeding|
|Ross’s Goose (White Morph)||22 – 25 inches||about 3.25 ft||They prefer grasses, and grain||North and southwest – non-breeding|
|Rock Pigeon (White Morph)||11 – 14 inches||20 – 26 inches||Mostly seeds and fruits and discarded human food (in cities)||All regions – year-round|
|Ring-billed gull||17 – 21.5 inches||4 – 5 ft||Small fish, insects, earthworms, grains, and rodents||All regions – non-breeding|
|Herring Gull||22 – 26 inches||4 – 5 ft||Small fish, crustaceans, mollusks, worms||All regions – non-breeding|
If you are birding in Louisiana, this article will be your best help to ID many white birds that occur during your birding adventures.
In this article, I have listed and given identification guides for 15 white birds in Louisiana. Some of them are common white birds and few are rare.
Four of the listed birds are white morphs of different bird species. Two other listed birds are mostly white birds that are primarily white in color but have a mix of other colors in some areas of the body.
Additionally, I have given the best region and time of the year to see each white bird listed here. So, plan your trips accordingly to see maximum number of birds.
Let me know how many of the listed white birds you have seen and where you saw them.
Additionally, if you are planning your next birding trip, consider traveling to one of these 10 best countries for birding to see many birds in a single trip. And, if you are looking for improving as a professional birder, check out these 11 tips for improving birding skills.
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