Cattle Egret

Bubulcus ibis  in हिंदी
Scientific Name:  Bubulcus ibis

Name:  Cattle Egret

    Local Names:
  • Assamese     গো-বগ
  • Gujarati     ઢોર બગલો, બગલો
  • Bengali     গো বগা
  • Hindi     सुराखिया
  • Sanskrit     पिंगलिका
  • Malayalam     കാലിമുണ്ടി
  • French     Héron garde-boeufs
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Small and stocky with short yellow bill and short dark legs. Has orange-buff on head, neck and mantle in breeding plumage; base off bill and legs become reddish in breeding condition. All white in non-breeding plumage.

Size in cm:

48-53 cm

Size in Inch

19-21 Inch

Primary color:


Secondary color:

orange   (Bird may have more colors)


The cattle egret feeds on a wide range of prey, particularly insects, especially grasshoppers, crickets, flies (adults and maggots), and moths, as well as spiders, frogs, and earthworms. In a rare instance, they have been observed foraging along the branches of a banyan tree for ripe figs

Habit and habited:

Gregarious when feeding and roosting. typically seen in flocks around domestic styock and also with Wild Buffalo, feeding on insects disturbed by the animal; often rides on the animals backs, picking parasitic insets and liles from their hides. Also forages in flooded fields. Unlike other egrets feeds mainly on insects. Damps grassland, paddy-fields, grass banks of village tank, canals and lakes; also rubbish dumps and forest clearings.


Bird Type:


The Cattle Egret is a stocky heron with a 88–96 cm wingspan; it is 46–56 centimeters in length and weighs 270–512 grams. It has a relatively short thick neck, sturdy bill, and a hunched posture. The non-breeding adult has mainly white plumage, a yellow bill and grayish-yellow legs. During the breeding season, adults of the nominate western subspecies develop orange-buff plumes on the back, breast and crown, and the bill, legs and irises become bright red for a brief period prior to pairing. The sexes are similar, but the male is marginally larger and has slightly longer breeding plumes than the female; juvenile birds lack colored plumes and have a black bill. The positioning of the egret's eyes allows for binocular vision during feeding and physiological studies suggest that the species may be capable of crepuscular or nocturnal activity. Adapted to foraging on land, they have lost the ability possessed by their wetland relatives to accurately correct for light refraction by water. This species gives a quiet, throaty 'rick-rack' call at the breeding colony, but is otherwise largely silent.

Distribution Map

  •     Resident (inc. local and altitudinal migrants)
  •     Former range (no recent records but may still survive)
  •     Summer visitor (including summer monsoon)
  •     Winter visitor
  •     Passage (autumn and/or spring) visitor
  •     known to be occasional, scarce or erratic
  •     Small isolated population (actual range smaller)  
  •     Isolated record(s) - one or more in the same area  
  •  colour coded for seasonality as per coloured ranges, black denotes unspecified season

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