Successful releases were also made in the Seychelles and Rodrigues, but attempts to introduce the species to Mauritius failed. It is more probable that, as Crosby (1972) has proposed, after estab-lishing a foothold on the northeastern coast of South America, the Cattle Egret moved across the Caribbean Sea. The cattle egret has undergone one of the most rapid and wide-reaching natural expansions of any bird species. The population is estimated to be around 7 million individual birds. [6], The cattle egret has two geographical races, which are sometimes classified as full species, the western cattle egret, B. ibis, and eastern cattle egret, B. coromandus. They often accompany cattle or other large mammals, catching insect and small vertebrate prey disturbed by these animals. [13], The cattle egret is a stocky heron with an 88–96 cm (35–38 in) wingspan; it is 46–56 cm (18–22 in) long and weighs 270–512 g (9.5–18.1 oz). The pale bluish-white eggs are oval-shaped and measure 45 mm × 53 mm (1.8 in × 2.1 in). Currently, the Cattle Egret is rated as Least Concern. [21] Adapted to foraging on land, they have lost the ability possessed by their wetland relatives to accurately correct for light refraction by water. [51] In Australia, Torresian crows, wedge-tailed eagles, and white-bellied sea eagles take eggs or young, and tick infestation and viral infections may also be causes of mortality. [53][54] In a rare instance, they have been observed foraging along the branches of a banyan tree for ripe figs. Unknown in North America prior to 1952, it is now abundant over much of the continent. Egretta ibis (Linnaeus, 1758) [9][14] In the 1930s, the species is thought to have become established in that area. Several populations stay in the southern United States. [23] Its Arabic name, abu qerdan, means "father of ticks", a name derived from the huge number of parasites such as avian ticks found in its breeding colonies. ARENDT * CATTLE EGRET RANGE EXPANSION from Africa. During the breeding season, adults of the nominate western subspecies develop orange-buff plumes on the back, breast, and crown, and the bill, legs, and irises become bright red for a brief period prior to pairing. Some populations are migratory and others show postbreeding dispersal. The cattle egret can be a safety hazard to aircraft due to its habit of feeding in large groups in the grassy verges of airports,[67] and it has been implicated in the spread of animal infections such as heartwater, infectious bursal disease,[68] and possibly Newcastle disease. [36], Although the cattle egret sometimes feeds in shallow water, unlike most herons it is typically found in fields and dry grassy habitats, reflecting its greater dietary reliance on terrestrial insects rather than aquatic prey. The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. [4] Ibis is a Latin and Greek word which originally referred to another white wading bird, the sacred ibis,[5] but was applied to this species in error. [16] The clutch size can be one to five eggs, although three or four is most common. Sibling rivalry can be intense, and in South Africa, third and fourth chicks inevitably starve. [69][70], This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 10,000,000 km2 (3,900,000 sq mi). They not only migrate in predictable patterns but also wander erratically and may turn up well to the north of their normal range. [50] In Barbados, nests were sometimes raided by vervet monkeys,[9] and a study in Florida reported the fish crow and black rat as other possible nest raiders. [38][39] During winter, many birds have been seen flying at night with flocks of Indian pond herons (Ardeola grayii) on the south-eastern coast of India[40] and a winter influx has also been noted in Sri Lanka. It was first recorded breeding in Cuba in 1957, in Costa Rica in 1958, and in Mexico in 1963, although it was probably established before then. [11] Rare cases of hybridization with little blue herons Egretta caerulea, little egrets Egretta garzetta and snowy egrets Egretta thula have been recorded. [31] It began to regularly visit New Zealand in the 1960s. The Cattle Egret has gone through one of the most rapid natural expansion of any bird. It has white cheeks and throat, like B. i. ibis, but the nuptial plumes are golden, as with B. i. Originally native to parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe, it has undergone a r… This subspecies' bill and tarsus are longer on average than in B. i. Since 1948, the cattle egret has been permanently resident in Israel. [36][65][66], Not all interactions between humans and cattle egrets are beneficial. It nests in colonies, usually near bodies of water and often with other wading birds. [10], Despite superficial similarities in appearance, the cattle egret is more closely related to the genus Ardea, which comprises the great or typical herons and the great egret (A. alba), than to the majority of species termed egrets in the genus Egretta. [24] It is now commonly seen as far west as California. [10] Individuals with abnormally grey, melanistic plumages have been recorded. [23] The chicks are partly covered with down at hatching, but are not capable of fending for themselves; they become capable of regulating their temperature at 9–12 days and are fully feathered in 13–21 days. Legs red or yellow during the breeding season, black during nonbreeding season. Sticks are collected by the male and arranged by the female, and stick-stealing is rife. The species has been seen as a vagrant in various sub-Antarctic islands, including South Georgia, Marion Island, the South Sandwich Islands, and the South Orkney Islands. As the keeping of livestock spread throughout the world, the cattle egret was able to occupy otherwise empty niches. Ardeola ibis (Linnaeus, 1758) The same study attributed some nestling mortality to brown pelicans nesting in the vicinity, which accidentally, but frequently, dislodged nests or caused nestlings to fall. Prior to 1948, it was only a winter visitor. They bred in Britain again in 2017, following an influx in the previous winter, and may become established there. [23] In the Seychelles, the breeding season of B.i. This stocky white heron has yellow plumes on its head and neck during breeding season. Despite the similarities in plumage to the egrets of the genus Egretta, it is more closely related to the herons of Ardea. Cattle egrets are often found around grazing animals like cows, who stir up lots of bugs for cattle egrets to eat. [57] In urban situations, cattle egrets have also been observed foraging in peculiar situations such as railway lines. The cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) is a cosmopolitan species of heron (family Ardeidae) found in the tropics, subtropics, and warm-temperate zones. It reached the Americas in the late 19th century when it was first found in Guiana and Suriname in 1877, and Australia in the [29][30], In Australia, the colonisation began in the 1940s, with the species establishing itself in the north and east of the continent. Explore Birds of the World to learn more. Small, compact white heron with stout yellow bill. [24] Cattle egrets were first sighted in the Americas on the boundary of Guiana and Suriname in 1877, having apparently flown across the Atlantic Ocean. [33] Many populations of cattle egrets are highly migratory and dispersive,[23] and this has helped the species' range expansion. [8], Young birds are known to disperse up to 5,000 km (3,100 mi) from their breeding area. Its performance is similar when it follows farm machinery, but it is forced to move more. Most Cattle Egrets breeding in North America migrate to Mexico, Central America, and the Greater Antilles. [17] B. i. seychellarum is smaller and shorter-winged than the other forms. B. i. seychellarum (Salomonsen, 1934), Ardea ibis Linnaeus, 1758 [46], The cattle egret engages in low levels of brood parasitism, and a few instances have been reported of cattle egret eggs being laid in the nests of snowy egrets and little blue herons, although these eggs seldom hatch.