Cairns to Cape Tribulation

Information for Cattle egret - Bubulcus ibis

Eukaryota >Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Pelecaniformes > Ardeidae > Bubulcus > Bubulcus ibis

Cattle egret
Bubulcus ibis

Often easy to spot, in paddocks with cattle on the side of the road, where they feed on insects.

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Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis - Photo by Alex Pawlow

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They are often found in large flocks and are quite a common sight along the Daintree River and cattle properties.

Cattle Egrets feed on insects, spiders, frogs and earthworms, and seem to enjoy the feasts uncovered by cane farmers plowing their paddocks.

Generally they are all white, but can develop an orange-buff colouring on their breast, back and crown during the breeding season. They may also develop red irises legs and bill for a couple of weeks before pairing.

Cattle egrets only migrated to Australia in the 1940s. They are originally native to Spain, Portugal and parts of Africa and Asia, where they co-existed with large grazing animals. They began an expansion in the early 1900s, taking advantage of humans increased land clearing and cattle farming. It is considered one of the most rapid "natural" expansions of any bird species.