Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Cattle Egret


Now that the water in the marshy patch near our house is drying up, the sight of  egrets feeding on the ground will greet us most mornings. Just like dew on the grass and the tomato re-seeders that somehow manage to make their way through the soil at this time of the year, it's a seasonal occurence. For the rest of the year it's as if the egrets understand that they remain in the outskirts of the city where the low-lying rice fields and water bodies with their innumerable flora and fauna provide enough for them. Marshy plots of land near residential areas are to be visited only in December!:) This is the fourth year that I've observed this. Maybe I'd have forgotten the month but for the photos I have taken....

                            
 To peck or not to peck seems to be the question for these birds. In summer the colocasia grows as high as six feet and you can barely see the other side. Swarms of dragonflies hover above them and the bee-eaters and the drongos are always around to feast on them. Families of marsh mongoose are seen scurrying in all that luxuriant growth. Only small clumps of colocasia plants remain at this time of the year. 

Cattle egrets feed on grasshoppers, crickets, flies, moths, spiders, frogs, and earthworms. Wiki says that the cattle egret has attracted many common names. These mostly relate to the habit of following cattle and other large animals, and it is known as cow crane, cow bird, and cow heron, or even elephant bird, and rhinocerous egret. The cattle egret is a popular bird with cattle ranchers for its perceived role as a biocontrol of cattle parasites such as ticks and flies.


Take a look at our feathered friends from around the world by visiting Springman at World Bird Wednesday.


Thank you for taking the time to stop by. May you have a wonderful Christmas!

17 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

i love that these birds are so widespread throughout the world.

heyBJK said...

Beautiful birds! I really like the white plumage. Very nice photos!

Gary said...

Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Sylvia K said...

Beautiful birds and wonderful captures as always!! We see Egrets here most of the time near the waterfront. I don't know if they are Cattle Egrets or not, but they do look the same and are beautiful! Terrific captures as always! I've been meaning to tell you that I love your header!! Gorgeous! Hope you have a great week!

Sylvia

mick said...

Interesting observations of how the habitat changes during the year. Great photos.

Andrew said...

A beautiful little bird to see your images are fantastic.

eileeninmd said...

I do love the cattle egrets, they are pretty birds. I usually only see them in the warmer months. Great series of photos.

Pat said...

Nice shots! They're beautiful birds.

Carole Meisenhelter said...

nice to see your cattle egrets; lovely photos to share with us.

holdingmoments said...

Such a lovely little member of the Egret family.

Jedediah said...

I like rhinocerus bird. They are elegant birds, but look a bit weird riding the big animals.

Arija said...

Thank goodness for dates on photos, it makes it so much easier to make annual comparisons. It is so nice to have the egrets around on a regular basis.

Wishing you and your family the happiest of holiday seasons.

Hilke Breder said...

I enjoyed your post and the beautiful photos! Happy holidays to you and your family!

ramblingwooods said...

Beautiful birds and its good that people know how valuable these insect eaters are....Happy Holidays...

Springman said...

Excellent post! Your egerets are very beautiful and their relationship to man intriguing. Thank you for sharing!

Larry said...

Nice shots of the Cattle Egrets! Such a cool bird. I especially like them in Spring in their breeding plumage.

Arati said...

thats a lovely shot you have right up in the start.
merry christmas!