|Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
The Cattle Egret is now a fairly cosmopolitan bird that originated in Africa and southern Spain but has, in the last 100 years or so invaded the Americas, Asia and Australia. It probably arrived in Northern Territory in the 1940s and are now found throughout most of Australia except the arid centre. They may even have been introduced by stock farmers to help control some of the insects that they feed on.
They get their English name from the fact that they are often seen near cattle as well as other animals on which they rely to disturb their prey. They are usually in small groups though photos 3 and 4 were of an apparently solitary bird.
|Photos 1 and 2 show a bird in breeding plumage with orange-buff plumes on its head, neck and back as well as an orange-yellow bill and pinky-orange legs. These photos were taken in November. Photos 3 and 4 were taken in April and show the bird in non-breeding plumage without the orange-buff plumage and with a yellow bill and dark legs and feet.|
|The sub-species found in Australia, New Zealand and south-east Asia is B. i. coromandus which is larger than the nominate sub-species found elsewhere, with a heavier bill, longer legs and deeper and more extensive orange-buff when breeding.|
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