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Cattle Egret

Afrikaans name: Vee-reier

Cattle Egret

Photo © Steven Herbert

Bubulcus ibis

The Cattle Egret found in South Africa is referred to as the Western Cattle Egret in many publications.

Cattle Egrets are found in tropical, sub-tropical and other warm temperate areas around the world.

The Cattle Egret is normally white but develops buff-coloured plumes during the breeding season.

Cattle Egrets can be found in a variety of habitats. We are used to seeing them in grassy areas accompanying herds of cattle, Buffalo or other mammals. They can also be found by water and farmlands.

They eat insects, frogs and other small animals. They accompany larger mammals to catch prey items that are disturbed by them. Cattle Egrets will also eat ticks off animals.

Sexes have similar plumage to each other although males are slightly larger and have longer plumes. Young Cattle Egrets have a black bill.

Cattle Egrets normally breed in colonies which in some area may include thousands of pairs. The breeding colonies are often situated near water.

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References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 173

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 54

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 4

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 24

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 9

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 28

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 177

Geoff Lockwood's Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Year Published: - Page: 158

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 53

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 53

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 62

List of South African Birds

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