Avian success story, and handsome, too

I love seeing the Cattle Egrets in their breeding colors at this time of year!8CAF6934-4153-401A-9C64-F74ED6FDB03B_1_201_aThere’s just something extraordinary about how this rather plain and commonplace egret is transformed during the spring nesting season.A52607A4-385B-47E8-8552-F08644FFCDFB_1_201_aWhether wearing the punk-rocker look or the slicked-back hairstyle, Cattle Egrets suddenly become quite showy with their purple lores, rosy pink-orange bill, and fuzzy peach plumage.F7617164-FB89-4460-91E3-32470CA2836F_1_201_a“The remarkable range expansion of the Cattle Egret represents one of the great avian success stories. Unknown in North America prior to 1952, it is now abundant over much of the continent. It spread from Africa to northeastern South America in the 1870s and 1880s; more recently it has colonized Australasian region.” (Audubon.org)BE444D16-4232-4DAF-BB25-367850DC7DCA_1_201_a

41 thoughts on “Avian success story, and handsome, too

  1. Yes they are quite fascinating BJ, my wife loves seeing them change. We have had them over here for many years but only in country areas where there are cattle. They breed in large flocks all clustered together, and is quite a sight and a smell. I love seeing all forms of breeding plumage. It is interesting that most of out population have no idea about breeding plumage changes. I spoke with a family yesterday and she confessed she thought our Fairy-wren breeding and non breeding were two different birds. Enjoy your week my friend:-)

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    • So interesting, AB! We also often see the Cattle Egrets hanging out in pastures and fields where there are cattle. They trot behind or ride on the cattle’s backs. Here, they frequent lawns and open areas in residential communities as well.

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  2. What beautiful breeding plumage coloring, great shots Carol! I had a small flock of eight of these egrets in my backyard this afternoon for a whole three minutes. First time ever! Ours are just starting to sport their breeding colors after recently returning from their summer vacation. 😊

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  3. This post is one positively great post.
    I’ve always loved this bird as he coops with cattle and horses where I live. True beauty is highlighted against the large animal it depends on for food. Your pics and wording are perfect.

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  4. I love your photos – they are beautiful birds. They migrated to South Africa too from tropical Africa probably in the late 1800s. I grew up using the common name tick bird for cattle egret, as included in their incredibly varied diet are ticks – they perch on large animals, including cattle, and remove ticks much as an oxpecker does, which I assume they do in the US too? It seems that the name tick bird is used less often these days.

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    • Yes, you’re exactly right, Carol. We often see them on or near the cattle in fields or pastures, but I personally have always heard them called Cattle Egrets. Our area – and much of Florida – was once vast cattle grazing land.
      I’ve seen the Oxpeckers in Israel. Though come to think of it… maybe I only saw them on the large mammals in The Ramat Gan Safari ☺️

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