The Eastern Great Egret (Ardea alba modesta) is a white heron of the genus Ardea, is considered a subspecies of the Great Egret (A. alba). Although a study argued for full species status in 2005, most taxonomists consider it to be a subspecies. In New Zealand, where it is known as the KOTUKU, the Eastern Great Egret is highly endangered, with only one breeding site at Okarito Lagoon. The species is protected in Australia under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. The Eastern Great Egret was first described by British Ornithologist John Edward Gray in 1831.