Once a seasonal visitor to the shores of Barbados since the 1970s, the Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) has now become a permanent breeding resident on our island. A white bird with a short sturdy yellow bill and a humped looking posture, cattle egrets are renowned for rummaging through freshly cultivated soil or riding along the backs of cattle. It was once thought that while on the backs of cattle, they were there primarily for the purpose of removing ticks. However, their ride on the backs of cattle is in an effort to successfully capture pests that are attracted to cattle.
Working in harmony, the male collects the necessary materials for nest construction while the female takes pride in building the nest. Nests are quite simple looking in appearance as they form a relatively untidy and small platform in trees.
Breeding cattle egrets exhibit buff plumes upon their head, breast, and back during mating season.
The non-breeding plumage of the cattle egret is white.
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