One of the ways this beautiful gliding bird can be distinguished from other similar birds is by noting how it holds its neck in flight. The great egret’s neck retracts into an S-shape, while related birds such as cranes and storks fly with their necks extended in a straight line. All egrets, including our ‘great’ friend here, are members of the heron family. Herons are found on every continent except Antarctica. (The only environments you cannot find one of the 64 species are dry deserts and high-altitude mountains.) Nearly every type of heron is a non-swimming waterbird, living very close to rivers, lakes, wetlands, or sea coasts for most of their lives.