Texas is home to a variety of beautiful white birds. You can easily spot many of them without much effort. But how well can you identify the birds you see? This resource will help you correctly recognize 19 different types of white birds in Texas.
These include both common and rare white birds, birds with white feathers, and birds that are mostly white but also have some other colors in their feathers (white being their main color).
- 1 – Great Egret
- 2 – Snowy Egret
- 3 – Cattle Egret
- 4 – White Ibis
- 5 – Little Blue Heron (Juvenile morph)
- 6 – Wood Stork
- 7 – American White Pelican
- 8 – Trumpeter Swan
- 9 – Northern Gannet
- 10 – Whooping Crane
- 11 – Red-billed Tropicbird
- 12 – Great Blue Heron (White Morph)
- 13 – Snow goose (White Morph)
- 14 – Ross’s Goose (White Morph)
- 15 – Masked Booby
- 16 – Snow Bunting
- 17 – American Avocet
- 18 – White-Tailed Kite
- 19 – Ring-billed Gull
1 – Great Egret
Quick ID guide to Great Egret
- They have a comparatively larger body with beautiful all-white plumage. Their bodies look tall and thin and they have S-shaped necks.
- The leg color is black.
- Great Egrets have a yellow color, dagger-shaped bills (Great Egrets in the Americas have yellow bills)
The Great Egret (Ardea alba) is a majestic bird that never fails to catch the eye of birdwatchers. With its large size and striking appearance, it’s hard to miss! The Great Egret sports a predominantly white plumage, which is the same for both males and females.
During the breeding season, they develop unique features like long plumes on their back and neck, adding a touch of flair to their appearance.
You can spot these graceful creatures in a variety of habitats such as wetlands, marshes, and shallow waters across Texas.
They have a wide distribution range throughout North and Central America. The best time to catch a glimpse of the Great Egret in Texas is during the spring and summer months when they are most active and readily visible.
2 – Snowy Egret
Quick ID guide to Snowy Egret
- They have all-white bodies. Similar to Great Egrets, they also have S-shaped necks. Snowy Egrets get long lacy plumes on the head, back, and neck during the breeding season.
- Leg and feet color: They have black legs (like Great Egrets) but their feet are bright yellow in color (non-breeding) and orange-red (breeding)
- Their bill is black in color and it has a yellow patch at the base of the bill.
The Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) is a striking bird known for its elegant appearance. It boasts a snowy white plumage, which is shared by both males and females.
What sets this beautiful species apart are its distinguishing features, such as long black legs, a slender black bill, and striking yellow feet. These contrasting colors create a captivating visual effect.
Snowy Egrets can be found in various habitats, including marshes, swamps, and coastal areas. Their distribution range extends across North and South America.
Similar to many other beautiful birds, Snowy Egrets were also hunted for their feathers in the late 1800s and it led to the near extinction of this beautiful bird.
But, now, they are widespread across the United States and can be seen fairly commonly in many states including Texas
When foraging, they use their feet to stir the water and probe to make their prey move so that they can hunt them. Mostly, they forage in estuarine and freshwater habitats. You can often see them along with other egrets.
In Texas, you can spot these graceful birds throughout the year, as they are residents in the state.
Keep an eye out for them in wetland areas and coastal regions, where they can often be seen wading in shallow waters, searching for their favorite meals of fish, crustaceans, and insects.
3 – Cattle Egret
Quick ID guide to Cattle Egret
- Cattle Egrets are also all-white birds. Their necks and legs are shorter when compared to other egrets. One of the distinguishable features in Cattle Egrets is their Oakley yellow feathers on the chest, back, and crown during the breeding season.
- Breeding adults have yellow or reddish legs and non-breeders have dark legs (blackish).
- Cattle Egrets have a stout dagger-shaped bill that is yellow in the non-breeding season and red-orange in the breeding season.
Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) are native to Africa. But, now they have spread widely over many states of North America as well as in the other parts of the world. Sporting a predominantly white plumage, both male and female Cattle Egrets share this characteristic.
However, during the breeding season, these birds develop unique features, such as buff-colored plumes on their head, neck, and back. They can be easily identified by their short yellow bill and contrasting dark legs.
Cattle Egrets are adaptable and can be found in various habitats, including fields, grasslands, and wetlands. In Texas, they are a common sight throughout the year, especially in rural areas and near livestock.
These birds are often seen foraging alongside cattle, as they have a symbiotic relationship, feeding on insects and other small creatures disturbed by the grazing animals.
4 – White Ibis
Quick ID guide for White Ibis
- Adult White Ibises have white bodies and little black on their wingtips. And, one of the unique features is their red facial skin.
- Their bills are long and downward-curved. Bill’s color is orange-red (a distinctive feature)
- And, they have pinkish-red legs
The White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) is a fascinating bird with a unique and easily recognizable appearance with a prominent pink naked face.
Its body is primarily white, with black wingtips that stand out against the pale plumage. The appearance of immatures is different from adults with brown and white mixed plumage.
Both male and female White Ibises exhibit this white coloration. However, during the breeding season, adults develop distinctive reddish-orange facial skin and a long, curved bill.
These stunning birds can be found in a variety of habitats, including marshes, swamps, and coastal areas.
In Texas, they are a common sight year-round, particularly along the Gulf Coast.
Keep an eye out for these elegant creatures as they forage in shallow waters, probing the mud for crustaceans, small fish, and insects. White Ibises are not shy, sometimes you can see them foraging close to humans.
5 – Little Blue Heron (Juvenile morph)
Quick ID guide for Little Blue Heron
- Juvenile Little Blue Herons have white plumage and their appearance is quite similar to Snowy Egret. The S-shaped neck is also another similarity. And, they are comparatively smaller in size.
- Little Blue Herons have dagger-shaped bills. And the tip of the bill is black (in contrast, the entire bill of the Snowy Egret is black)
- These birds have Pale greenish legs whereas Snowy Egrets have black legs.
The Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) is a stunning bird with a distinct appearance that undergoes a remarkable transformation as it matures.
In its juvenile phase, this heron exhibits a white morph including head and neck. As it grows older, its plumage transitions to an elegant slate-gray color, with a publish gray head and neck.
Both male and female Little Blue Herons showcase this captivating transformation.
These birds can be found in a range of habitats, including marshes, swamps, and wetlands. They can mostly be seen as flocks in open wetlands. They mix with other herons and wading species when breeding.
In Texas, they can be observed year-round, with the highest abundance during the spring and summer months. Keep an eye out for these mesmerizing herons as they patiently stalk their prey of fish, amphibians, and insects in the marshy landscapes of Texas.
6 – Wood Stork
Quick ID guide for Wood Stork
- Wood Stork is a large white bird with black flight feathers. One of their distinguishable features is the featherless blackish color head and upper neck.
- Another feature that differentiates them is their long downward-curved dark bill
- Wood Storks have blackish-gray legs
The Wood Stork (Mycteria american) is a remarkable bird with a striking appearance about 3 feet in height. Its large body is predominantly white, with black flight feathers and a bald, scaly head.
Both male and female Wood Storks share this white plumage, making them easily identifiable. These magnificent birds can be found in wetland habitats such as marshes, swamps, and shallow lakes.
While the Wood Stork’s breeding range primarily encompasses the southeastern United States, including parts of Texas, it is considered a rare visitor in the state.
If you’re lucky, you may spot a Wood Stork in Texas during the summer months, as they occasionally make appearances in coastal regions and large wetland areas.
7 – American White Pelican
Quick ID guide for American White Pelican
- 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.
The American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) is a magnificent bird that captures attention with its impressive size and unique appearance.
Its body is predominantly white, with black flight feathers that stand out in contrast. Both male and female American White Pelicans exhibit this striking white plumage.
These beautiful birds can be found in various habitats, including lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. They have a wide distribution range, spanning across North America.
In Texas, the American White Pelican can be spotted during the winter months, particularly along the Gulf Coast and other large bodies of water.
Keep an eye out for these graceful creatures as they glide across the water, using their large bill to scoop up fish and other aquatic prey.
8 – Trumpeter Swan
Quick ID guide for Trumpeter Swan
- Body size: The Trumpeter Swan is a large bird, measuring approximately 4 to 5 feet in length, making it one of the largest waterfowl species in North America.
- Bill: The Trumpeter Swan is characterized by its distinctive black bill, which is long, straight, and triangular in shape.
- Plumage, bill, and legs: The adult Trumpeter Swan has pure white plumage, a black bill, and black legs. Its elegant appearance is accentuated by the striking contrast between the white feathers and the dark bill and legs.
The Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) is a large bird that shines with its elegance and beauty.
Its body is primarily white, with a long graceful neck and a distinctive black bill. Both male and female Trumpeter Swans possess this striking white plumage.
These enchanting birds can be found in a variety of habitats, including wetlands, lakes, and rivers. They have a wide distribution range across North America.
In Texas, the Trumpeter Swan is a rare visitor during the winter months, particularly in the eastern parts of the state.
Look for these magnificent creatures as they glide across the water, gracefully foraging on aquatic plants.
9 – Northern Gannet
Quick ID guide for Northern Gannet
- The Northern Gannets are beautiful white birds. They have white bodies with black wing tips. One of their identifiable features is having a yellowish wash on the back of the head and neck.
- Its eyes are light blue in color. They have pointed tail feathers.
- Northern Gannets have long, heavy, gray color bills.
The Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) is an enigmatic seabird that commands attention with its striking appearance. It possesses a white plumage, which is shared by both males and females.
This stunning bird stands out with its bright yellow head and neck, and its long, slender wings. The Northern Gannet can be found in coastal habitats, particularly near cliffs and offshore islands.
It primarily feeds on fish, diving from great heights to catch its prey with remarkable precision.
They are famous for their headfirst plunge dives for foraging. It is an eye-catching scene to watch when a large flock of Northern Gannets does plunge diving.
While the Northern Gannet is not commonly seen in Texas, it occasionally makes appearances along the Gulf Coast during the winter months.
Witnessing the grace and aerial acrobatics of these seabirds is a truly remarkable experience for bird enthusiasts in Texas.
10 – Whooping Crane
Quick ID guide for Whooping Crane
- Body size: The Whooping Crane is a large bird, standing at around 5 feet tall, making it one of the tallest birds in North America.
- Bill and legs: The Whooping Crane has a long, straight bill that is primarily black in color. Its legs are also black.
- Plumage: The adult Whooping Crane is primarily white in color, with black wingtips that are visible during flight. Its face is adorned with a red patch, and it has black feathers extending from the crown down the back of its neck.
The Whooping Crane (Grus americana) is an iconic and majestic bird that commands attention with its remarkable appearance. It’s an endangered bird with a declining population.
With a body primarily adorned in brilliant white plumage, this species is renowned for its striking beauty. Both male and female Whooping Cranes share this distinguishing white coloration.
These magnificent birds can be found in various habitats, including wetlands, marshes, and coastal areas.
The Whooping Crane’s distribution range spans from the United States to Canada.
In Texas, this awe-inspiring bird can be seen during the winter months, particularly along the Gulf Coast.
11 – Red-billed Tropicbird
Quick ID guide for Red-billed Tropicbird
- A medium-sized bird, measuring approximately 18 to 21 inches in length.
- Bill and legs: The Red-billed Tropicbird is characterized by its bright red bill and red legs. These colorful features stand out against its white plumage.
- The Red-billed Tropicbird is predominantly white, with long, streaming white tail feathers.
- Its wings may have black markings, and it possesses black eye markings that add to its distinctive appearance.
The Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus) is a contrasting and graceful seabird that enchants its unique appearance.
With a predominantly white plumage, both male and female Red-billed Tropicbirds showcase this striking coloration. Their distinguishing features include a vibrant red bill and captivating red legs, adding a touch of brilliance to their elegant presence.
These birds are often found in tropical and subtropical regions, frequenting offshore islands and coastal areas.
While the Red-billed Tropicbird is not commonly seen in Texas, occasional sightings occur along the Gulf Coast, particularly during the summer months.
Witnessing the beauty and aerial acrobatics of these seabirds is a rare treat for bird enthusiasts exploring the Texas coastline.
12 – Great Blue Heron (White Morph)
Quick ID guide for Great Blue Heron (White Morph)
- A large bird, standing at an impressive height of around 4 to 5 feet, making it one of the tallest wading birds in North America.
- Bill and legs: This majestic heron features a long, dagger-like bill that is yellow in color. Its legs are also yellow, complementing its overall appearance.
- Plumage: The Great Blue Heron (White Morph) exhibits a striking all-white plumage, which is different from the typical blue-gray coloration of its more commonly seen counterpart.
- The white feathers give this bird a unique and eye-catching appearance.
The Great Blue Heron (White Morph) (Ardea herodias) is a captivating variation of the familiar Great Blue Heron, distinguished by its stunning all-white plumage.
Both male and female individuals of this morph exhibit remarkable white coloration, which sets them apart from their counterparts with the usual blue-gray feathers.
These majestic herons can be found in a variety of habitats, including marshes, wetlands, and coastal areas.
While they are not as commonly seen as the typical Great Blue Herons, the White Morph can occasionally be spotted in Texas, particularly along the Gulf Coast, during the winter months.
13 – Snow goose (White Morph)
Quick ID guide for Snow Goose (White Morph)
- A medium-sized bird, measuring about 25 to 31 inches in length.
- Bill and legs: This beautiful goose has a short, pink bill and pink legs, adding a touch of color to its overall appearance.
- Plumage: The Snow Goose (White Morph) is distinguished by its pristine white plumage.
- The entire body, including the wings, is primarily white, with no significant markings or patterns.
- This snowy-white coloration is what makes it stand out among other goose species.
The Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens) is an elegant bird known for its pristine white plumage. Both male and female Snow Geese exhibit this striking white coloration, which sets them apart from other goose species.
These beautiful birds can be found in various habitats, including wetlands, marshes, and agricultural fields.
Their distribution range spans across North America, with many Snow Geese undertaking long migrations each year.
In Texas, these magnificent birds can be spotted during the winter months, particularly along the Gulf Coast and other coastal areas as well as in wetlands.
14 – Ross’s Goose (White Morph)
Quick ID guide for Ross’s Goose (White Morph)
- A small bird, measuring about 20 to 25 inches in length, making it one of the smallest goose species.
- Bill and legs: This goose species features a short, stubby pinkish bill and pink legs, giving it a delicate and charming appearance.
- Plumage: The Ross’s Goose (White Morph) is predominantly white in color, with no significant markings or patterns.
- Its snowy-white plumage is a defining characteristic, distinguishing it from other goose species.
The Ross’s Goose (Anser rossii) is a charming and attractive bird known for its beautiful snowy-white plumage.
Both male and female Ross’s Geese exhibit this distinct white coloration, making them easily distinguishable from other goose species.
These delightful birds can be found in a variety of habitats, including wetlands, marshes, and agricultural fields.
They have a wide distribution range across North America, with many Ross’s Geese migrating long distances each year.
In Texas, these wonderful birds can be observed during the winter months, particularly in agricultural fields, along the Gulf Coast and other coastal regions.
15 – Masked Booby
Quick ID guide for Masked Booby
- A large seabird, measuring around 28 to 33 inches in length, making it one of the larger booby species.
- Bill and legs: This bird is characterized by its long, pointed, and pale-colored bill, which contrasts with its dark facial mask.
- The legs of the Masked Booby are also pale in color.
- Plumage: The plumage of the Masked Booby varies depending on its age and sex. Adult birds typically have white body with a brownish mask around their eyes. Juveniles, on the other hand, have a brown overall coloration.
The Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra) is a fascinating seabird known for its striking appearance.
This beautiful bird displays a distinctive plumage, with adult individuals featuring a white body and a distinct brown mask around their eyes.
In contrast, juvenile Masked Boobies have a brown overall coloration. Both male and female Masked Boobies exhibit white plumage, making it challenging to differentiate between the sexes based on appearance alone.
These seabirds inhabit tropical and subtropical regions, including islands and coastal areas.
While they are rarely seen in Texas, occasional sightings of Masked Boobies can occur along the Gulf Coast during the summer months.
16 – Snow Bunting
Quick ID guide for Snow Bunting
- A small songbird, measuring about 6 to 7 inches in length, making it comparable in size to a sparrow.
- Bill and legs: This bird has a short, stout bill, which is mostly black in color. Its legs are also black.
- Males have mostly white body with black wings and a black back.
- Females and non-breeding individuals have more brown or grayish-brown feathers, with some white on their undersides.
- In winter, both sexes display predominantly white plumage to blend with their snowy surroundings.
The Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) is a charming and distinctive bird that brings a touch of winter magic to our surroundings. With a compact body, this small songbird measures around 6 to 7 inches in length, similar in size to a sparrow.
The plumage of the Snow Bunting changes with the seasons. During the breeding season, males showcase a striking contrast of mostly white feathers with black wings and a black back.
Females and non-breeding individuals have a more subdued appearance, with brown or grayish-brown feathers and white undersides.
In winter, both sexes get a predominantly white plumage to blend with the snowy landscape. These resilient birds can be found in open, snowy habitats such as fields, tundra, and coastlines.
While they are not common residents in Texas, Snow Buntings may make occasional appearances around Lake Lewisville and Lake Tawakoni in winter months, offering a delightful sighting for birdwatchers in the region.
17 – American Avocet
Quick ID guide for American Avocet
- A medium-sized wading bird, measuring approximately 16 to 20 inches in length.
- Bill and legs: This bird is known for its long, slender, upward-curved bill, which is black in color. Its legs are also long and gray.
- Plumage: During the non-breeding season, the American Avocet exhibits a distinctive black and white plumage.
- Its head, neck, and back are predominantly black, while the underparts and wings are white.
- The black plumage extends up to the top of the head, creating a striking contrast with the white body. The back feathers have a unique scaly appearance.
The American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana), in its non-breeding plumage, is a captivating wading bird that graces our wetlands and coastal areas.
This medium-sized bird stands out with its striking black and white coloration. Its head, neck, and back are adorned in glossy black feathers, while its underparts and wings shimmer in pure white.
Both male and female American Avocets display this eye-catching plumage, making them easily identifiable. These elegant birds can be found in a variety of wetland habitats, including salt pans, mudflats, and shallow marshes.
In Texas, they are commonly seen during the winter months, particularly along the Gulf Coast, adding a touch of elegance to the coastal scenery.
The American Avocet gracefully forages for its preferred diet of aquatic invertebrates, utilizing its long, slender, upward-curved bill to sweep through the water and capture its prey.
18 – White-Tailed Kite
Quick ID guide for White-Tailed Kite
- A medium-sized raptor, measuring approximately 14 to 17 inches in length.
- Bill and legs: It possesses a distinctive long and slender bill, typically gray in color. The legs are also long and slender, often pale or grayish.
- Plumage: The White-Tailed Kite showcases a striking and unmistakable plumage. Its head, neck, and underparts are predominantly white, while the upperparts, including the back and wings, are a beautiful gray color.
- The tail stands out with its white color, contrasting with the rest of the body.
- The combination of white and gray feathers makes this kite a remarkable sight in the sky.
The White-Tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) is a captivating raptor that graces the skies with its graceful flight and distinctive appearance. This medium-sized bird displays a beautiful combination of white and gray plumage, making it easily recognizable.
Both male and female White-Tailed Kites exhibit white plumage on their head, neck, and underparts, creating a striking contrast with the gray coloration on their upperparts and wings.
This unique color pattern sets them apart from other birds of prey. These kites are commonly found in open habitats such as grasslands, marshes, and agricultural areas.
In Texas, they can be spotted year-round, particularly in the southern parts of the state. Their hunting prowess is impressive, as they specialize in capturing small mammals, rodents, and even insects.
19 – Ring-billed Gull
Quick ID guide for Ring-billed Gull
- A medium-sized gull, measuring about 17 to 21 inches in length.
- Bill and legs: It features a distinctive yellow bill with a black ring near the tip, which gives the species its name. The legs are also pale yellow.
- Plumage: The Ring-billed Gull displays a white body with gray wings and back. During the breeding season, adults develop a dark gray mantle and a black band around their bill.
- Juveniles have a mottled brown plumage that gradually lightens as they mature, eventually resembling the adult plumage.
The Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) is a familiar and easily recognizable bird found in various parts of North America, including the state of Texas.
These medium-sized gulls exhibit a classic white plumage that is shared by both males and females. What sets them apart is their distinct features, such as the yellow bill with a black ring near the tip and yellow legs.
They can be observed throughout Texas during different periods of the year, as they are both resident and migratory birds. Ring-billed Gulls are adaptable and can be seen in a range of habitats, including coastal areas, lakes, and even urban environments.
Their diet consists of a varied menu, comprising fish, insects, and scavenged food. So, keep an eye out for these charismatic gulls during your Texas bird watching adventures.
Now it is time to explore!
Texas is truly a haven for bird enthusiasts, offering a diverse array of stunning white birds. From the majestic Great Egret to the elegant Snow Bunting, these avian wonders grace the landscapes with their beauty.
Exploring their habitats and observing their unique plumage is a rewarding experience for any nature lover.
Which of these white birds have you encountered during your Texas bird watching journeys? Share your sightings and stories in the comment section below and let’s celebrate the remarkable avian diversity of the Lone Star State together!
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