Cattle Egret: Medium, stocky egret with white body and pale orange-brown patches on head, neck and back. Eyes, bill and legs are orange. This is the only white egret with both a yellow bill and yellow legs. Feeds primarily on insects disturbed by livestock. Direct flight on quick steady wing beats.
Range and Habitat
Cattle Egret: Breeds throughout much of the U.S.; less dependent on aquatic habitats than other egrets, preferring grassy fields.
The Cattle Egret is present in most portions of the world, with the exception of Bulgaria, where it is thought to be extinct. This bird has also been introduced to Jamaica and the British Indian Ocean Territory. The range of the Cattle Egret is around 10 million square kilometers. The population is estimated to be around 7 million individual birds. In 2000, the Cattle Egret was rated as Lower Risk. Currently, the Cattle Egret is rated as Least Concern.
It has been estimated that Cattle Egrets are able to gather 50% more food and use only two-thirds as much energy when they feed in association with livestock as opposed to feeding alone.
The Cattle Egret did not exist outside of Africa until the late 19th century. They likely flew from Africa to South America and since have extended their range through Florida and then further north and west.
They have been observed along side the runways of airports waiting for airplanes to pass and blow insects out of the grass. They also follow farm equipment to catch insects that are disturbed.
A group of cattle egrets are collectively known as a "stampede" of egrets.