Cattle Egret | Bubulcus ibis

Robert's Birding Information: The Cattle Egret

The Cattle Egret is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Ardeidae bird family group which includes birds such as Egrets, Herons, Bitterns.

The description for the Cattle Egret (Latin name Bubulcus ibis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Bubulcus ibis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 71 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 592. You will find a picture of the Cattle Egret on page 592.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Cattle Egret between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Cattle Egret is known in Afrikaans as Veereier (Bosluisvo?l).

The Cattle Egret has a height of 54 cms and weighs around 340 gms. The head is coloured white while the bill is coloured orange. The Bubulcus ibis has a white coloured throat, black legs and a white coloured back. The eyes are red.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is white.

Eyes are red.

Bill is orange.

Legs are black.

Throat is white.

Back is white.

This bird has long legs ? ie legs the length of which are out of proportion to the bird's body size. This can be a useful identification guide (eg with the Lapwings).

Cattle Egret Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Cattle Egret Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Cattle Egret is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 6 eggs and they are coloured blue, green.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

The bird builds its nest above water as a means of protecting itself from predators and to be close to its main food source which includes fish, shrimp and frogs.

The Cattle Egret is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

It is also seen in flocks.