- Also known as the Great White Egret or Common Egret or (now not in use) Great White Heron
- The Great Egret is a large bird with all-white plumage that can reach one meter in height, weigh up to 950 grams (2.1 lb) and has a wingspan of 165 to 215 cm (65 to 85 in) — only slightly smaller than the Great Blue or Grey Heron (A. cinerea)
- A widely-distributed egret. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world, localized in southern Europe. In North America it is widely distributed across the Sun Belt of the United States, and in the rainforests of South America.
- It is sometimes confused with the Great White Heron in Florida, which is a white morph of the closely related Great Blue Heron (A. herodias). The name Great White Heron has occasionally been used to refer to the Great Egret.
- Apart from size, the Great Egret can be distinguished from other white egrets by its yellow bill and black legs and feet, though the bill may become darker and the lower legs lighter in the breeding season
- In breeding plumage, delicate ornamental feathers are borne on the back
- Males and females are identical in appearance; juveniles look like non-breeding adults
- It is a common species, usually easily seen
- It has a slow flight, with its neck retracted. This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, cranes, ibises, and spoonbills, which extend their necks in flight