Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Scientific name: Bubulcus ibis

Did you know: The Cattle Egret is the only member of its genus, Bubulcus, and has undergone a remarkable global spread in the last century.

What Do Cattle Egrets Look Like? (how to identify them)

Cattle Egrets are distinctive birds, slightly smaller than their cousin, the Little Egret

With their yellow or greyish legs and yellow beaks, they present a contrasting appearance to the Little Egret, known for its black legs with yellow feet and black beak. 

These birds measure about 45-50 cm in length, with a wingspan ranging from 82 to 95 cm, and weigh between 300 to 400 grams. 

During the breeding season, they adorn themselves with buff plumes, adding a dash of colour to their predominantly white feathers.

Differences Between Male And Female Cattle Egrets

Male and female Cattle Egrets are similar in appearance, making it challenging to distinguish between them. 

However, males are slightly larger with marginally longer breeding plumes. During the breeding season, both sexes develop vibrant breeding plumage, but these changes are more pronounced in males.

What Do Cattle Egrets Eat?

In their search for food, Cattle Egrets exhibit a varied diet. They primarily feast on insects, worms, reptiles, frogs, and even mice. This diet reflects their adaptability and skill in foraging across different habitats.

Where Do Cattle Egrets Live? (inc. migration info)

Cattle Egrets are versatile in their habitat choices, thriving in farmlands, wetlands, and grasslands. Originally from parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe, they have now expanded globally. 

In the UK, around 100 Cattle Egrets winter annually. Some populations migrate or disperse post-breeding, showcasing their adaptability to various environments.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Cattle Egrets)

The Cattle Egret communicates with a subtle, throaty call, particularly noticeable in their breeding colonies. Otherwise, they are relatively quiet birds, with their calls serving as a means of communication within their social groups.

Fun Cattle Egret Facts (kid friendly)

  • Cattle Egrets often follow livestock, benefiting from the insects these animals stir up.
  • They have a special relationship with cattle, helping them by eating ticks and flies.
  • Unlike most herons, Cattle Egrets prefer fields and dry habitats over wetlands.
  • They are skilled at night flying, often migrating or dispersing in large groups.
  • In the breeding season, their legs and beak can turn bright red!

Cattle Egret Video

Facts About The Cattle Egret

Diet: Insects, worms, reptiles, frogs and mice.
Bird Family: Herons, storks and ibises
Length: 45-50cm
Wingspan: 82-95cm
Weight: 300-400g
Scientific Name: Bubulcus ibis

The Cattle Egret Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Cattle Egret Images

Male Cattle Egret Male
Female Cattle Egret Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile