New York Natural Heritage Program
Cattle Egret
Bubulcus ibis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Birds

Habitat [-]
Cattle Egrets are colonial nesters, nesting with other species of herons in trees and shrubs of upland woodlands, swamps, or vegetated islands in both inland and coastal areas (Telfair 2006). In New York, Cattle Egrets breeding on Long Island utilize non-barrier and dredge spoil islands that are thickly vegetated with trees, shrubs, and vines (New York Natural Heritage Program 2009). The population in the Adirondacks breeds on relatively flat islands composed of pine and mixed hardwoods (New York Natural Heritage Program 2009). Cattle Egrets typically forage among grazing animals in agricultural fields and grasslands (Custer and Osborn 1978; Telfair 2006). They have also been observed foraging in trees and shrubs (Kushlan 1979).

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Acidic talus slope woodland
    An open to closed canopy woodland that occurs on talus slopes (slopes of boulders and rocks, often at the base of cliffs) composed of non-calcareous rocks such as granite, quartzite, or schist.
  • High salt marsh
    A coastal marsh community that occurs in sheltered areas of the seacoast, in a zone extending from mean high tide up to the limit of spring tides. It is periodically flooded by spring tides and flood tides. High salt marshes typically consist of a mosaic of patches that are mostly dominated by a single graminoid species.
  • Low salt marsh
    A coastal marsh community that occurs in sheltered areas of the seacoast, in a zone extending from mean high tide down to mean sea level or to about 2 m (6 ft) below mean high tide. It is regularly flooded by semidiurnal tides. The mean tidal range of low salt marshes on Long Island is about 80 cm, and they often form in basins with a depth of 1.6 m or greater.
  • Salt panne
    A shallow depression in a salt marsh where the marsh is poorly drained. Pannes occur in both low and high salt marshes. Pannes in low salt marshes usually lack vegetation, and the substrate is a soft, silty mud. Pannes in a high salt marsh are irregularly flooded by spring tides or flood tides, but the water does not drain into tidal creeks. After a panne has been flooded the standing water evaporates and the salinity of the soil water is raised well above the salinity of sea-water.

Associated Species [-]
  • Great Egret (Ardea alba)
  • Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
  • Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
  • Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor)
  • Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)
  • Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)