Prairie Ridge Ecostation

Cattle Egrets

Bubulcus ibis

The first weekend of April brought a pair of Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) to Prairie Ridge Ecostation. What are Cattle Egrets? They are small white herons that hunt for insects and other small animals in pastures and along roadsides.

Why are they named Cattle Egrets? Their name refers to their habit of following cattle or other large grazing animals. They do this to catch any small animals the grazers stir up.

What do the egrets eat? Other than large insects, Cattle Egrets will eat many small animals including worms, frogs, and lizards.

                    A Cattle Egret in the grass           A pair of Cattle Egrets

Are Cattle Egrets rare? These egrets can be quite common in the Eastern United States. Curiously, they made their way here from Africa and were unknown in North America until the 1940's.

We have had fun watching the Cattle Egrets here at Prairie Ridge. Have you seen any Cattle Egrets recently? If you have, please e-mail us and let us know where and when.

For more information about Cattle Egrets visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Find out more about the natural happenings at Prairie Ridge at our What Time Is It In Nature Archive.