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Common name Cattle egret
Scientific name Bubulcus ibis
Type Farmland birds
Status Resident

Medium-sized wader (about 52 cm or 20.5 in) with a bill and legs somewhat shorter than other herons. The plumage is white, often spotted with dirt. In the mating season the male sports ocher and orange tones on the nape, head, neck and back. Orange bill, eyes and legs.


Cultivated areas and wetlands

Where it lives

Grasslands, meadows, shallow wetlands and crops with abundant livestock or the presence of farm machinery.

How it lives

Species resident in the province that breeds in colonies. Nests in trees (aviaries), normally very noisy. It begins the laying in May (4 to 5  eggs) and feeds on very diverse prey that captures in the ground: invertebrates, small reptiles, amphibians and micromammals. The Cattle Egret takes advantage of the movement of livestock and the land of labor to find its prey. It also eats parasites from the skin of the cattle, which is why it is known in Spanish as "espulga bueyes" (“ox delousers”) or "rezneros" (“bot fliers”).

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Very common and frequent species throughout the province. It can be watched practically in almost all the Great Path, except in stages of high mountain or closed forest formations.

Curious facts

One of the most curious behaviors of this species is its preference to sleep in specific points of the province and in a group. At dusk the egrets take flight and go towards their roosts, sometimes quite far from their range areas. During the journey the egrets from the places where the flock passes by join the party, until they all arrive together at the roost. At dawn they perform the opposite operation. The flock works like a bus line with stops in which passengers get on and off.

Similar birds
Wintering Summer Resident Migration