Medium-sized white egret. Breeding adult has bright blue loral skin, a pinkish-orange bill, and long frilly plumes on the head, neck, and back. Nonbreeding adult lack plumes and has dull greenish legs and bill. Nonbreeding birds can be confused with Little Egret, but note Chinese Egret's thicker bill, proportionally stouter legs, orangish base to the bill, and dark lores with a shallow crook between eyes and bill. Light morph of Pacific Reef-Heron may also be similar, but average much thicker-billed and thicker-legged than Chinese. Moves between craggy islands and coastlines when breeding; winters in mangroves, estuaries, and mudflats.