Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret in non breeding plumage

Cattle Egret

(Bubulcus ibis)

Size (48-52 cm): It is the smallest of all the Egrets found in India

Area: Most of India except the Himalayas

Habitat: Lakes, village ponds, cultivations, river-banks

Description: Non-Breeding birds are white all over and the iris, lores and the bill are yellow. The legs are also yellow but are much paler than the bill.

Cattle Egret in non breeding plumage
Cattle Egret in non breeding plumage

Breeding adults develop buffy-orange plumes over their head, neck, throat and the lower back. The bill and legs also develop a reddish-orange hue.

Cattle Egret in breeding plumage

It is a very common and very friendly bird, which is good for those who want to photograph it. If you approach it slowly without much movement, it won’t bother you coming too close.


Cattle Egrets are named so because they are often found near cattle herds, sitting on the backs of cows and buffaloes. They are one of the best friends of the cattle, they eat insects and parasites that stick to the cattle’s body, thus keeping them clean and also safe from infections. If you want to find them, the best place I would suggest would be a paddy cultivation where there is standing water.

Food: Insects, frogs, snails, grasshoppers and even lizards.

IUCN status: LC – Least Concern

~Arjun Basandrai

One response to “Cattle Egret”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: