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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis

The Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) is a small white heron. It is the only member of the monotypic genus Bubulcus.

Glassy eyed ... Loved the angle of this pic and how it was framed against the blue sky... See the yellow feathres on the head.. thats the breeding plumage

The Cattle Egret is a stocky species, averaging 51 cm long and weighing 200-600 g, with a short thick bill. The non-breeding adult has all-white plumage, a yellow bill, and greyish-yellow legs. When breeding, orange buff plumes develop on the back, breast and crown, and the legs become orange pink. The sexes are similar, but juvenile birds have a black bill.

This bird will give soft kre calls in flight, and a gruff rick-reck on the ground.

The Cattle Egret is often found in dry grassy habitats, unlike most herons which are associated with shallow water. It feeds on insects, especially grasshoppers, and is usually found with cattle and other large animals which disturb small creatures which the egrets then catch. This species will sometimes ride on the backs of these animals.

The Cattle Egret is native to parts of Asia, Africa and Europe.

Most Cattle Egrets are permanent residents with some post-breeding dispersal, which may have led to the egret's range expansion.

The breeding habitat of the Cattle Egret is large wetlands in warm countries. It nests in colonies, often with other wading birds, usually on a platform of sticks in trees or shrubs, laying one to five eggs. It may reproduce in rural and urban locations, provided there is a suitable pond or pool available.

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