Bubulcus ibis
(Cattle Egret)

Order: Ciconiiformes
Order Description: Bitterns, Herons, Egrets,and Ibises
Family: Ardeidae
Family Description: Herons, Bitterns, and Egrets

Physical Description:
Size 20" (51 cm). A small white heron. resembles the Snowy Egret, but has s shorter, thicker neck and orangish bill and legs. Breeding adults have a buff-orange plumesClick word for definition on mantleClick word for definition, breast and crownClick word for definition. Often stands in a hunched position.

Similar Species- Great Egret is much taller and more slender with longer bill and legs. Legs always black. Snowy Egret has longer, slimmer black bill, yellow feet.

Makes various croaking sounds on the breeding range.

Breeds from California, southern Idaho, Colorado, and North Dakota, east through parts of southern Canada and northern U.S. to Maine, and south (primarily in coastal lowlands) to South America. Winters throughout much of breeding range.

Found in wet pastures and freshwater and brackishClick word for definition areas, but may also be found in dry fields and garbage dumps.

Eats mainly insects and amphibians, but may also eat reptiles and small rodents.

Builds nest in tree with other egrets and ibis. Frequently nests in colonies. In Idaho, shares nesting areas with herons. Often flies in large flocksClick word for definition in morning and evening. Usually feeds on dry or moist ground near cattle or horses, sometimes near farm machinery.

Both sexes incubateClick word for definition 2- 6 eggs (usually 3-4), for 21-24 days. Young fly short distances at 40 days, and reasonably well at 50 days. May breed at 1 yr.

Element Code: ABNGA07010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S2
National Rank: N5B,N5N

Important State References:
Trost, C.H. and A. Gerstell. 1994. Status and distribution of colonial nesting waterbirds in southern Idaho, 1993. Dept. Bio. Sciences, Idaho St. Univ., Pocatello. 101pp.

Photos by C. Trost and P.S. Weber,© 2000
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.