Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Cattle Egret in Sugar Cane Field

Last week on Eileen’s Saturdays Critters when I saw a Cattle Egret, I was reminded of the hundred of birds I used to see that followed the machines while they were cutting Sugar Cane. This was when I was staying at my daughters a few years ago near Innisfail, Queensland.  The Egrets were picking up all the bugs when the cane was cut.  Below these are some of the photos with a little bit of information about these birds.


Cattle Egret - Ardea ibis - 48–53 cm



They are a small, squat Egret, often in flocks with livestock. Their habitats include moist pasture with tall grass, shallow open wetland and margins, mudflats.  Posture is usually hunched; walks with forward–back swing of head; darts forward, neck outstretched, to take prey. Flight is swift with rapid wing beats.


 Highly sociable, however they can be found in small groups to very large flocks.  They arrived in Northern Australia about 1950; now widespread.   In colonies, gives a very deep croak, ‘krok, krok’, and aggressive, harsh ‘krow’. 


Breeding
Sep.–Oct. in SE; Mar.–May, or the end of the Wet, in the tropics. Breeds in colonies in clumps of trees or shrubs; often with other waterbirds. Most nests are 3–15 m high, each a rough, loose platform of sticks. 

Clutch 3–6 (45 x 34 mm); incubation by both parents, 24–25 days. Young leave nest aged 6 weeks, earlier if disturbed.



Intermediate and Little Egrets are like non breeding Cattle Egret, but stand tall. Common across North Australia, uncommon in South.


I hope you found that interesting.

I am linking this post with WILD BIRD WEDNESDAY

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22 comments:

  1. Wow, you even found baby Cattle Egrets! We have lots of cattle around here, but I have never seen a Cattle Egret! Maybe they do not live anywhere near us

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  2. Great photos. I especially like your description of the great flocks yous saw and the photos of the birds in the cane fields.

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  3. ...lovely to see all the egrets having a feast

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  4. Yes, that was really interesting! Nice photos of those birds!
    Amazing to see so many of them! (I have not seen a single one!)
    Greetings Pia

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  5. One of the birds, like cockatoos, which makes the very best of human invasion/alteration of their territory.

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  6. Nice post - I saw big flocks of these birds from the car when I was in Far North Queensland a few years ago - but never managed to get any decent pictures. Always on the way to somewhere else!

    cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  7. Splendid photos Margaret, great to see. I have seen Cattle Egrets but never in such great numbers as these. I never knew that sugar cane was grown in Australia. That is something new I have learned today.

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  8. cool! I´m glad you mentioned that they take the bugs. If they were after the suger would not be nice. :)

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  9. ...this is amazing Margaret. Around here, the only bird flocks in large numbers I see are pelicans and seagulls following the shrimp boats.

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  10. i like to see them return here in spring and follow the horses around in the pasture, then circle around the pond for a drink. :)

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  11. Nice shots of these birds! We have them here too. Once I saw one walking around in my backyard. I watched him awhile until I saw him rooting around in some pine straw. He pulled out a frog and proceeded to swallow it whole!

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  12. Wonderful series of photos! I have seen sugar cane fields in Maui but not during the harvest. Love this post!

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  13. Wow, so many Egrets. And I can never find just one. LOL

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  14. Great pics Margaret. I lived near there 20 or so years ago (near Atherton and up in Cooktown).

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  15. Oh, I've never heard of that many Cattle Egrets, fantastic photos.

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  16. Impressive !! I never saw so many Egret in the same time. Thank you for all this informations about this bird that we don't have here in Eastern North Canada.

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  17. The cattle egrets are one of my favorites. You have so many of them, too!

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  18. We used to see these more often when we had cattle- although we do get a few here and there following our horses. I have always called them tick birds, because when I was a little girl my grandfather told me they ate the ticks off the cows.

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  19. Yes, I found your post very interesting. I have never seen so many Egrets in one place before. Enjoyed learing about the Cattle Egrets.

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  20. Margaret...thanks for visiting and leaving a sweet comment at the Bird D'Pot this week.

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  21. A great series for Wild Bird Wednesday, Margaret! They are a spectacular bird when seen in a flock and when I was in Queensland in August, I saw a huge flock by a cane cutter. They all took off as I approached and I took what should have been a truly spectacular series of rapid burst shots of dozens of them in flight, filling the screen, only to find I had left the camera in full manual mode and had an irrecoverable series of hopelessly underexposed shots :-(

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