Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Cattle Egret

The cattle egret removes ticks and flies from cattle and other large grazing mammals and consumes them, which benefits both species. The extension of human farming is believed to be the reason that the cattle egret's range has expanded greatly from what it originally was. It was originally native to Southern Spain and Portugal and parts of Africa and Asia. It first arrived in North America in 1941 and Mexico in 1963, which is where I saw them. We saw them in fields of cows outside of Villahermosa, Mexico. I have seen them previously, elsewhere, including California, and did a short blog post on them in Africa
Near a cow in Villahermosa.
Flying, with cows in the background. 
A non-breeding adult has mainly white plumage, a yellow bill and grayish/yellow legs. During breeding season the western subspecies develops orange/bluff plumes on the back, breast and crown and the bill, legs and irises of the eyes become bright red for a brief period before they pair up. Juvenile birds have a black bill and and no colored plumes. 

This cattle egret has some orange/buff plumes.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that final photo is gorgeous. It has an interesting connection between the eye and the beak.