Cattle Egret
 Photo

General description.

Also known as the 'buffed backed' heron, during breeding season, the Cattle Egret is a handsome courtier with delicate pumage, especially his arresting crown. At this time, his legs and short bill are orange, but in non-breeding season, this bird is totally white and his bill turns to pale yellow; his legs return to dark.

Juvenile appearance.

Bill is dark.

Calls or song.

Hoarse croaks.

Population and distribution.

The Cattle Egret made its way from Africa, where it followed in the wake of the Cape Buffalo and elephant for food, to South America in the 1930's. It continues to make its way north from Florida, where it has established nests in the thousands. It can be seen behind farm machinery and livestock, which kicks up the insects the egret needs for sustenance.

Nesting habits.

The Cattle Egret breeds near the water like other herons. It lays 3-5 pale blue eggs in a nest of sticks, built in a bush or tree in a marsh.
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