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Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday's Foto

If, like me, you are a fan of nature documentaries, no doubt you have seen lots of footage of Cattle Egrets following around zebras, wildebeest and other ungulates in Africa. An Old World species, this bird reveals an incredible story of how one species successfully expanded into the New World and beyond making it the greatest natural expansions of any bird species! Believed to have originated in central Africa, it began to expand its range through that continent eventually appearing in northeastern South America in the 1870s and 1880s. In 1953 it spread north with the first breeding pair established in Florida that year. By 1962 they had made their way into Canada. Cattle Egret can now be found throughout North America.

Unlike the similar looking Snowy Egret or Great Egret who feed primarily in littoral zones, the Cattle Egret forages in open country associating with large grazing mammals that flush insects as they move. In Africa they feed along with elephants, rhinos, and Cape Buffalos. In the Americas they associate with cattle and horses. Though rare around NYC, the best place to look for one around Brooklyn is Floyd Bennett Field.

The IUCN Red List lists their conservation status as “Least Concern

Its scientific name, Bubulcus ibis, means cowherd ibis.

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