15 White Birds That Birders Should Know

It's always exciting to see a white bird, whether in your yard or on the beach. From egrets to snowy owls, here are white birds to look for.

Cattle Egret In Flight, white bird
Courtesy Jerry Hopman

Cattle Egret

“I took this photo at Brazos Bend State Park in southeast Texas. After staying at home during most of the coronavirus time, when the Texas state parks opened again, I made a mad dash there. This is normally the time of ibis, egret and roseate spoonbill roosting. As I was watching, photographing as many birds as I could in the trees, I noticed this white bird — a cattle egret — starting a flight path in front of me. A panning technique and lots of luck got me this shot,” says Jerry Hopman.

There’s more than one white bird in the egret family! Here are 10 egrets and herons you should know.

white bird trumpeter swan
Courtesy Marcy Plomski

Trumpeter Swan

“I live in a rural setting near Luck, Wisconsin. Every spring the trumpeter swans arrive right across the road from my home. This is just one of many pictures I have taken of swans,” says Marcy Plomski.

Learn more about swans with these fascinating swan facts.

275540568 1 Anna Vitale Bnb Bypc 2021, white bird
Courtesy Anna Vitale

White-Breasted Nuthatch

“When I took this photo, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I loved it for the rest of my hike. This is a white-breasted nuthatch. This bird seemed to be everywhere, but it would fly away as fast as I could pull my camera out. I didn’t think I would be able to snap any photos! Nevertheless, I am starting to think that this little birdie might’ve actually enjoyed getting his photo taken. He turned out to be quite the model!” says Anna Vitale.

Discover 20 black and white birds you might see.

276003331 1 Phil Gleissner Bnb Bypc 2021, white bird
Courtesy Phil Gleissner

Snowy Owl

“I took this image of a snowy owl at the Muskegon wastewater treatment plant in southwestern Michigan. I went to this location (which is a two-hour drive from my home) in search of the snowy owls that frequent this birding spot in winter. This image is a favorite because of the sharpness of the capture, and the expression in the bird’s eyes as it stared directly at the camera,” says Phil Gleissner.

Discover 15 small orange birds you should know.

254039949 1 Joel Singletary Bnb Bypc2020, white bird
Courtesy Joel Singletary

Mute Swan

“I took this photo at Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter, South Carolina, in August. This is a mute swan. The interest, for me, was the lighting. The swan was preening, and as its head went down below the raised wing, it was shadowed by the bright, sunlit wing feathers,” says Joel Singletary.

Love white bird photos? You’ll also love these gorgeous green birds.

275202857 1 Andrea Harsha Bnb Bypc 2021, white bird
Courtesy Andrea Harsha

American White Pelican

“I drove to visit a friend in hopes of seeing the American white pelicans that were migrating. The first lake we went to, there were only two, pretty far away. The day was passing, and I was so afraid we’d miss out on seeing them or having enough light to photograph. We headed toward another small lake, and as we approached, we both gasped in excitement to see the flock settled in a small cove. I took many photos that day, but this one captures their beauty as well as the sunset and all its glory,” says Andrea Harsha.

To help your ID skills, we found 25 small yellow birds you should know.

Bnbbyc19 Raymond Burr
Courtesy Raymond Burr

Mississippi Kite

“This Mississippi kite showed up and let me zoom in close on him for this photo. We only have these guys in the summer here in the Texas panhandle,” says Raymond Burr. Learn more about raptors, amazing birds of prey.

251927289 1 Joe Bob Hall Bnb Bypc2020
Courtesy Joe Bob Hall

Snowy Egret

“Since I was a young boy, I have always been attracted to this white bird with the yellow slippers. I can’t get enough pictures of the snowy egret. I was fortunate to find this subject at Brazos Bend State Park which lies south of Houston. While on one of the park’s many trails, I spotted this beauty looking for food in the waters of a spillway passing beneath the trail,” says Joe Bob Hall.

See 15 photos of white cardinals and leucistic birds.

Bnbbyc17 Phyllis Terchanik 3
Courtesy Phyllis Terchanik

Snow Bunting

“This is a snow bunting. I love the colors in its feathers, as well as the flower seed that is still clinging to its beak. It’s as if I caught it by surprise eating its snack. I also like the reflection of the sky in its eye,” says Phyllis Terchanik.

These are the six beautiful bunting birds you should know.

276677083 1 Joseph Norrell Bnb Bypc 2021, white bird
Courtesy Joseph Norrell

White Ibis

“I am a wildlife artist and combine photography and fishing trips together. One of my saltwater estuaries near the Fernandina Beach, Florida, lighthouse was a common stop. One summer morning, I spotted several white ibis and herons feeding along the shore. They are fast moving and hard to catch in a good pose. They stopped long enough (and I had to wait) to get them in this feeding/standing pose. The light was perfect, giving me feather detail and shadows I was looking for.”

Learn all you need to know about wading birds.

tundra swan, white bird
Courtesy Barry Samuel

Tundra Swan

“This photo was taken during the winter in Yellowstone National Park. I waded through three feet of snow to get to the river bank and was rewarded with seeing this tundra swan flapping its wings,” says Barry C. Samuel.

Is this white bird an albino crow?

278132308 1 Kenneth Hood Bnb Bypc 2021
Courtesy Kenneth Hood

Snow Geese

“Massive liftoff of a flock a snow geese near Lamar, Colorado, in February. I wasn’t actually expecting this, as I had just reached the top of a small grade up to a railroad track, apparently disturbing a large flock of snow geese which flew off above me. The noise they made was incredible. I just pushed the button and hoped for the best,” says Kenneth Hood.

Once you’re done looking at white bird pictures, check out photos of blue colored birds.

herring gull, white bird
Courtesy Paul Nevola

Herring Gull

“This is a herring gull that I captured on Long Island in the town of Noyack. While gulls are common, I never really noticed how beautiful they were until I took this photo. I find the composition of the gull, the beach and the water to be very striking,” says Paul Nevola.

Leucistic vs albino birds: Learn the difference.

253767778 1 Ashley Buckler Bnb Bypc2020
Courtesy Ashley Buckler

Royal Tern

“I took this photo in the summer in Florida with my Nikon D40 and a telephoto lens, as to not disturb the mother bird and her young. We were visiting the beach for my sister’s wedding and it was fun watching all the shorebirds. Many had hungry offspring following closely behind,” says Ashley Buckler.

Get to know these 21 small brown birds you might see.

253923696 1 Kathryn Herndon Bnb Bypc2020, white bird
Courtesy Kathryn Herndon

Great Egret

“Living on a lake in Florida, my backyard birds include many species of water birds. But my favorite is the great egret, especially in the spring. During breeding season, they have beautiful plumes that grow from their upper back and a brilliant green color in front of the eyes. They often land in cypress trees, which surround our property, to preen. The bright green of the fresh needles of the tree made for the perfect backdrop one spring day. This was one of my favorite images as the egret looks up into the sky at a passing dragonfly,” says Kathryn Herndon.

Next, check out 9 pictures of black birds.

Emily Hannemann
Emily Hannemann is an associate editor for Birds & Blooms Digital. Throughout her years with the publication, she has written multiple articles for print as well as digital, all covering birding and gardening. In her role as associate editor, she is responsible for creating and editing articles on the subject of birding and gardening, as well as putting together Birds & Bloom's daily digital newsletter. After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a master's degree in magazine journalism and undergraduate degrees in journalism and English, she has more than eight years of experience in the magazine, newspaper, and book industries.