The cattle egret is a cosmopolitan species of heron found in the tropics, subtropics, and warm-temperate zones. It is the only member of the monotypic genus Bubulcus, although some authorities regard two of its subspecies as full species. Originally native to parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe, it has undergone a rapid expansion in its distribution and successfully colonised much of the rest of the world.
About Cattle egret in brief
The cattle egret is a cosmopolitan species of heron found in the tropics, subtropics, and warm-temperate zones. It is the only member of the monotypic genus Bubulcus, although some authorities regard two of its subspecies as full species. Originally native to parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe, it has undergone a rapid expansion in its distribution and successfully colonised much of the rest of the world in the last century. Despite superficial similarities in appearance, the cattle Egret is more closely related to the genus Ardea, which comprises the great or typical herons and the great egret, than to the majority of species termed egrets in the genus Egretta. The adult cattle egrets has few predators, but birds or mammals may raid its nests, and chicks may be lost to starvation, calcium deficiency, or disturbance from other large birds. This species maintains a special relationship with cattle, which extends to other large grazing mammals, and is implicated in the spread of tick-borne animal diseases. The western nominate form breeds in South Asia, Eastern Asia and Australasia, and the eastern nominate form occupies the remainder of the species range, including Western Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. Some authorities recognise a third Seychelles subspecies, B. i. seychellarum, which was first described by Finn Salomonsen in 1934. The male and female are similar, but the male is marginally larger and has slightly longer breeding plumes than the female.
During breeding season, adults of the nominate westernspecies develop orange-buff plumes on the back, breast and the bill, and irises for a brief period before becoming bright red. The female birds lack plumes and have a black bill and a blue crown, and a red crown and crown during the breeding season. It has a relatively short, thick neck, a yellow bill, a hunched posture and a thick, yellow-brown neck and legs. It nests in colonies, usually near bodies of water and often with other wading birds, and often in trees or shrubs. Some populations are migratory and others show postbreeding dispersal. The animal is a stocky stocky heron with an 88–96 cm wingspan; it is 46–56 cm long and weighs 270–512 g. The adult has a non-breeding, mainly white plumage, mainly yellow and grey-brown, with a thick neck and a grey-yellow bill. It often accompanies cattle or other large mammals, catching insect and small vertebrate prey disturbed by these animals. It removes ticks and flies from cattle and consumes them. This benefits both species, but it has been implicated in the spread of Tick-borne Animal Diseases. The species is thought to be a major cause of their suddenly expanded range, and wider human farming is believed to be the reason for their sudden expanded range. It was originally described in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus in his Systema naturae as Ar dea ibis.