Over on my other blog I have been sharing portraits of birds every Monday, and I thought today I’d join in here with this rather fabulous Cattle Egret. I was putting out the washing on our side balcony and happened to look down and spotted it on the wall below.
I suspect it was hunting grasshoppers or maybe even mice. We usually see Bubulcus ibis in meadows or in the hills close to or even on livestock, where they can easily grab insects and worms which the cattle hooves disturb or remove the ticks and fleas from the animals themselves. Perhaps this great working relationship is why these herons have successfully colonised much of the world in the last century.
This one is in summer plumage and so relatively easy to identify, but in the winter months you may find yourself looking more closely at their yellow beaks and brown/grey legs in order to distinguish them from the little egret. Little egrets are slightly larger than the cattle egret, and have black legs with yellow feet and a black beak.
They are very common in Portugal, particularly south of the Tagus and it is not unusual to see them in large groups of a hundred or more. We’ve yet to be fortunate enough to see them in those numbers but regularly see them in small groups. Visit my post of a walk along the banks of the Guadiana when I captured around a dozen of them in a tree.
I love him so much he’s going to be my ‘Share Your Desktop‘ for the next month. Thanks again to Clare for encouraging us since last year to both change and share our desktops. Clare’s is not the only blogging challenge I am linking with today and some of you may have already guessed the second challenge by the shape of the photograph below.
I am of course taking part in Squares again. I thought the Egret looked rather lovely skulking behind the fruit of the Indian Bead Tree (Melia azedarach).