Commensalism


IMG_2772

Cattle Egret and Cow, Lamar, Texas April 2019

For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to get a decent photo of a flock of Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) that frequent a nearby cow pasture. Luck was with me the other day, when this sweet mama grazed close to the fence bringing her companion with her. Appropriately, bubulcus is Latin for herdsman. As both names imply, Cattle Egrets follow herds of grazing animals.

In a mutually beneficial arrangement, the birds snap up delicious insects that the ungulates attract (and that their large hooves flush). As you can see from the rufous highlights, it is breeding season (otherwise, it would sport only white feathers).

Categories: Nature Notes

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