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Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

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Scientific Name:

Bubulcus Ibis


SW Europe to Caspian Sea, Africa, Madagascar, N, C, S America, S & E Asia, Australia, New Zealand.


Mainly insectivore. Insects (horse-flies, flies, beetles, caterpillars, dragonflies, ticks, cicadas, crickets), also crustaceans, spiders, frogs, tadpoles, molluscs, fish, lizards, snakes, small birds, rodents. Occasionally vegetable matter, e.g. palm nut pulp.


Habitat:  Pastures, freshwater habitats such as marshes and flood plains.
Incubation: 21-26 days / 2-5 eggs
Social structure: colonies of a few dozens to several thousand pairs or up to 10.000 pairs in Africa.
Weight: 510gr max
Dimensions: 46-56cm  wingspan: 88-96cm
Lifespan: 7-8

Estimated population in the wild: 4,000,000-9,850,000

Threats: Wetland degradation and destruction, pesticide poisoning, persecuting as public nuisance in urban areas, hunting and trading in traditional medicine markets (in Nigeria).
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Did you know that:

  1. In Greece it is a very rare winter visitor.
  2. Their name comes from their habit to wander alongside herds of cattle.
  3. By riding on the back of grazing animals they eat ticks and flies or insects stirred up by the grazing activity, they conserve energy and they are protected from predators.
  4.  Some ranchers rely more on cattle egrets than pesticides to control flies around their herds.
  5. The first research on this species was conducted by Aristotle (384-322 b.c.)

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