Egret: Western cattle egret
An animal of least concern for the IUCN with good numbers in both hemispheres of the world.
Specialising in eating ticks on cattle and catching insects that move away from browsing cattle in pasture land, egrets eat virtually any invertebrates and smaller vertebrates such as lizards, snakes, mice, voles or amphibians that make the mistake of moving!
Cattle egrets live in drier areas than other herons and can virtually survive anywhere cattle can live except in very cold and extreme seasonal climates.
Like all herons they are colony nesters often choosing to breed in amongst big mixed species colonies. Outside of the breeding season though, they flock, feed and roost together as a species.
1-5 white eggs are laid in a typical heron nest of sticks after the parents get into breeding condition by growing longer breeding feathers around the head and neck.
A heron that shares its life with large grazing mammals such as cattle!
Unlike other herons it predominantly eats terrestrial insects instead of aquatic prey.
This is a current success story as they are the fastest spreading heron anywhere in the world.
At The Zoo
We have a small flock courtesy of Twycross zoo in one of our larger shared crane aviaries at the bottom of our zoo. Occasionally they can be seen catching their own food in the long grasses and often a field vole is welcome addition to their prepared diet!