- 18.1–22 in
- 34.6–37.8 in
- 9.5–18.1 oz
- Buff-backed Heron
- Héron garde-boeufs (French)
- Depulgabuey, Garrapatosa, Garrapatera, Garza de ganado, Garza de vaquèra, Garcita de ganado, Garcilla garrapatera, Garcilla bueyera (Spanish)
- The Cattle Egret is native to Africa and Asia, and only reached the Americas in the late 19th century. It was first found in northeastern South America in 1877, having probably arrived there from Africa. It reached the United States in 1941, and started nesting by 1953. In the next 50 years it became one of the most abundant of the North American herons. It has occurred all the way to Alaska and Newfoundland, and has bred in nearly all states.
- The Cattle Egret is an opportunistic feeder, and will follow large animals or machines to catch insects they stir up. It also is attracted by smoke from a large fire. Egrets come from long distances to catch insects trying to escape the fire.
- The Cattle Egret occasionally adds birds to its diet. At Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas off the coast of Florida, migrating Cattle Egrets land on the large green lawn inside the fort, probably hoping for some nice grasshoppers. Because no insects are there to be had, the egrets try to catch the migrating warblers that also have stopped on the tiny island.
- Breeds in colonies with other herons on islands, isolated woods, and swamps.
- Found foraging in many habitats, terrestrial and aquatic, such as ponds, cattle pasture, roadsides, farmland, dumps, parks, sports fields, and lawns.
Grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, flies, frogs, and moths.
- Clutch Size
- 1–9 eggs
- Egg Description
- Light sky blue.
- Condition at Hatching
- Helpless, covered in down.
Shallow, bowl-shaped nest of sticks. Placed in trees and shrubs in colonies with other herons.
Follows and rides large mammals and catches insects they stir up. Forages in flocks.
May still be expanding breeding range, but populations in some areas declining.
- Telfair, R. C. II. 1994. Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis). In The Birds of North America, No. 113 (A. Poole, and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.