The food of the cattle egret.

Published online
29 Jun 1972
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Siegfried, W. R.

Publication language
Africa South of Sahara & South Africa


The following is based partly on the author's summary. Cattle egrets (Ardeola ibis) feeding in dairy-cattle pastures in the south-western Cape Province of South Africa were found to eat mainly grasshoppers, Lepidopterous larvae and earthworms, though many other invertebrates and vertebrates were taken. The most obvious seasonal changes in diet involved earthworms. The diet of nestlings resembled that of the independent birds; grasshoppers and Lepidopterous larvae were the most important food items. The diet of the cattle egret is reviewed. Injurious and potentially injurious insects of which fair numbers were taken comprised larvae of Helioíhis armigera (Hb.) and Agrotis sp., larvae and adults of Colias electo (L.), Heteronychus arator (F.) (sanctaehelenae Blanch.) and crickets and grasshoppers.

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