5 White Birds In South Dakota (With Pictures!)

In this article I’ll be covering 5 different white birds that can be found in South Dakota so, continue reading for a more detailed look at each bird below.

  • American White Pelican
  • White Breasted Nuthatch
  • Snowy Owl
  • Great Egret 
  • Snowy Egret

5 White Birds In South Dakota

1. American White Pelican (Pelecanus Erythrorhynchos)

American white pelican

  • Size: 130 – 160cm
  • Weight: 6 – 6.5kg
  • Wingspan: 260 – 290cm

American white pelicans will use the majority of South Dakota when migrating but can also be found in the northeast and southwest regions of the state when breeding. 

These pelicans can be recognised by their mostly white plumage and extremely large bills. Females look vey similar to the males.

You’ll often spot these birds around lakes and rivers.

As for what they eat, it includes mostly fish of the rough kind that humans don’t typically capture, smaller amphibians and crayfish.

Wild American white pelicans are known to live for around 16 year in the wild whilst captive ones are known to be around the 30 – 35 year range.

2. White Breasted Nuthatch (Sitta Carolinensis)

White Breasted Nuthatch

  • Size: 13 – 14cm
  • Weight: 18 – 30 grams
  • Wingspan: 20 – 27cm

White breasted nuthatches can be found all across South Dakota throughout the year. 

These white breasted nuthatches are recognised by their gray back, wings and the upper head with white breast feathers. Females look the same as the males.

As for where you would find these white breasted nuthatches, it would be around mature woods and woodland edges, where they’re most commonly located by deciduous stands that have maple, hickory, basswood, oak and are even found in some coniferous forests.

They mostly consume nuts, seeds and insects, which can include hazelnuts, sunflower seeds and suet.

As for how long white breasted nuthatches live in the wild, it tends to be around 2 years with the longest lifespan recorded around 12 years.

3. Snowy Owl (Bubo Scandiacus)

Snowy owl

  • Size: 52 – 71cm
  • Weight: 1.1 – 2kg
  • Wingspan: 125 – 164cm

Snowy owls can be found all throughout South Dakota in their non-breeding fall and winter months. 

These owls are recognised by their mostly white plumage with brown dots throughout the body. Females on the other hand are generally less white than the males as the brown spots encompass more of their body.

Snowy owls tend to spend their time within arctic tundra or open grasslands and fields, whilst avoiding forested areas. 

As for what they eat, it includes lemmings and a variety of small mammals. Nevertheless, they will still occasionally eat larger mammals like like hares, rats, rabbits, etc.

Snowy owls have been observed to live for around 28 years in captivity and between 10+ years in the wild.

4. Great Egret (Ardea Alba)

Great egret

  • Size: 80 – 100cm
  • Weight: 0.7 – 1.5kg
  • Wingspan: 130 – 170cm

You’ll be able to spot great egrets in the eastern and central South Dakota when migrating.

Great egrets are recognised by their extremely long necks, yellow bill, long black legs and mostly white plumage. Both males and females look very similar with the males being generally larger than the females.

Great egrets spend the majority of their time within marshes, ponds, shores and mud flats.

As for what they eat, it includes primarily consume fish along with crustaceans, amphibians, and small mammals. They will also forage around open areas.

Great egrets tend to live for around 15 years in the wild and around 22 years in captivity.

5. Snowy Egret (Egretta Thula)

Snowy egret

  • Size: 56 – 66cm
  • Weight: 350 – 390 grams
  • Wingspan: 95 – 105cm

You can spot snowy egrets in southwest South Dakota when migrating along with a number of vagrant ones throughout the state.

Snowy egrets as their name would suggest are snow white birds with a long neck, black beak, black legs whilst also having a relatively large frame. Besides their sexual organs the only differentiating factors between males and females are that the males are slightly larger.

You’ll find these egrets by mudflats, beaches, and wetlands, but you can also see them forage in wet agricultural fields and along the edges of rivers and lakes. 

Snowy egrets eat a variety of foods from fish, insects, crustaceans which includes crabs, crayfish, frogs, snakes, snails, worms, lizards, rodents and more.

These egrets are known to live for around 5 – 6 years in the wild and upwards of 16 years in captivity.

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