Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret in the fields on Oahu, Hawaii

When I was in Hawaii in the summer of 2008, I saw flocks of Cattle Egret (Above, 6-25-08, Oahu) , especially in fields on the islands of Oahu and on Kauai. This is the first time I have run across these Egrets. They are the smallest of the White Heron family, only growing up to 20" tall compared to the Great Egret (39" tall). Since I have learned that they are common along the southern coasts of Florida and throughout the Gulf as well as along the Pacific coast stretching from Mexico all the up to Northern California. In the summer they will be found inland in the Southern states and as far up as Kansas, Missouri, Southern Illinois, and believe it or not, the grasslands of North Dakota. This is not all that surprising, because when I saw them in Hawaii, they seemed to be more of an open field and grassland bird than a shorebird.  They have mostly white plumage with feint yellowish-pinkish feathers on its crown, back and breast during mating season. In both photos (Above and Below), you can see those colorings. Although their feet are not visible in the photos, they are yellow during breeding (Mar - July), and turn dark during off breeding months (Aug - Feb).

Cattle Egret in the jungle brush near Hanakapai Waterfall, Kauai.

In Kauai, while hiking the Kalalau Trail we were surprised to find a solo Cattle Egret (Above, 7-10-08, Kauai) foraging among the jungle brush at Hanakapai Falls. All of our other obsevations seemed that this bird stayed in small flocks and in open fields. However, this guy either knew something that the other Cattle Egret didn't, or he was very lost.


Chesney said...

I just love the shape of this guy...and what a pose!

T Thompson said...

Jon, I realize this is an old thread, but thought I'd let you know that cattle egrets sometimes show up in Illinois too. I live in centralish Illinois and have seen them a couple of times. I used a picture I took of a very very large bull and cattle egret as my avatar for your blog. I have more similar shots I could post. I just joined and am looking forward to exploring the blog. TLT