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Bird of the Month: Cattle Egret

My Magazine 2023/05
2 min
Cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis) are a species of bird in the heron family, Ardeidae. They are small, white birds with a yellow bill, legs, and feet. During breeding season, they develop orange-brown plumes on their head, neck, and back. Cattle egrets are native to Africa, but have spread to many parts of the world, including the Americas, Asia, and Australia.

Cattle egrets are typically found in grasslands, savannas, and wetlands. They feed on a variety of insects, including grasshoppers, crickets, and flies, as well as small mammals like rodents. They have adapted to forage in the company of grazing cattle, as the cattle stir up insects that the bird can then eat.

During the breeding season, cattle egrets build their nests in trees or shrubs, usually in colonies with other cattle egrets or other bird species. The female lays between two to five eggs, which hatch after about three weeks. The chicks are born naked and helpless, but grow rapidly and are able to fly after about a month.

Cattle egrets are considered a beneficial species because they can help control insect populations in agricultural areas. However, they can also cause problems in some regions, such as nesting near airports or power lines, which can pose a hazard to aviation or cause power outages.

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