Cattle egret

Bubulcus ibis

The cattle egret is a unique species of heron found on every continent except Antarctica. It is named for its habit of wandering alongside herds of cattle.

Cattle egret Behavior and facts

  • Cattle egrets follow large grazers such as buffalo and elephants.
  • As the grazers feed on grass, they disturb insects, spiders, frogs and worms, which the egrets then eat.
  • During the breeding season, the cattle egret's bill, iris and the feathers on its head and back turn orange-red.
  • Cattle egrets are also known as buff-backed herons.

Life history

  • Cattle egrets typically breed near water and in colonies.
  • They lay one to five eggs per season.
  • There is intense sibling rivalry for food - the more aggressive cattle egret chicks get the most food.


IUCN Least concern

Cattle egrets, the Oregon Zoo and you

The zoo's cattle egrets live in the Cascade Stream and Pond aviary.