Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Cattle Egret in Kachchh, India

Cattle Egret in Kachchh, India

The Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) is a small heron which originally occurred in the tropics, subtropics, and warm temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa. However, since the end of the 19th century the species colonized almost the rest of the world  and therefore can be considered as cosmopolitan. Compared to other herons, the birds favor rather dry and open habitats. True to their name, they commonly follow cattle to prey on insects or small vertebrates disturbed by the movements of the larger animals. Additionally, they feed on ticks or other parasites and frequently can be seen standing on the backs of cows or buffaloes. The diurnal egrets are gregarious and breed in colonies – often in woodlands near swamps or lakes and together with other birds occurring in wetlands. I have seen Cattle Egrets many times during different journeys, mainly in Africa and Asia. The photographs in this post are from an encounter in Kachchh, western India, in January 2015.

Cattle Egret in Kachchh, India

Cattle Egret in Kachchh, India

Cattle Egret in Kachchh, India

Cattle Egret in Kachchh, India

Cattle Egret in Kachchh, India

Cattle Egret in Kachchh, India

 

One response to “Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

  1. Yeah they are pretty much an urban bird around here perching on cars or examining hedges for insects..at least when hey aren’t cleansing cows of a few pesky insects. As I understand it they followed the livestock trade to the Americas and that is why we have them here. I thought they were always a Florida bird but no ..and old world bird when did not appear in Florida until the 1940’s. Surprised the heck out of me!! But, they are funny yet fierce little herons and fun to watch.

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