Cattle Egret

photo by Phil Swanson

Bubulcus ibis
L 20″ (51 cm) W 36″ (91 cm).

Song or calls:
Usually silent but known to utter croaking sounds during the nesting season.

Description: Sexes similar. Breeding adult white, with short filamentous orange-buff plumes on crown and breast, and longer plumes on back; bill and legs yellow with duskier feet. Non-breeding adult all white; yellow bill; yellowish to dark green legs, with duskier feet. Juvenile similar to adult except legs and feet gray-green to blackish.

cattle egret
Habitat: Upland meadows, shallow wetlands and pastures.

Where in Nebraska: Uncommon to locally common spring and fall migrant mostly in the eastern and central portions of the state. Breeding

Field Notes: Introduced from Old World. Usually found near cattle and forage largely on grasshoppers and other insects rather than on fish like most herons.

Fun Facts: Cattle Egrets are attracted to smoke where fire dispels insects and follow cattle and tractors to eat the insects they stir up.

Cattle Egret - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)