Global invasive species database

  • General
  • Distribution
  • Impact
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Common name
h�ron garde-boeufs (French), garza de vaqu�ra (English), Afrikaanse koereiger (English), garcilla bueyera (Spanish), garza de ganado (English), rhinoceros egret (English), elephant bird (English), buff-backed heron (English), hippopotomus egret (English), garrapatera (English), garrapatosa (English), Indian cattle egret (English), depulgabuey (English), garcilla garrapatera (English), garcita de ganado (English), cattle egret (English), garza ganadera (Spanish)
Synonym
Bulbucus ibis
Ardea ibis
Ardeola ibis
Similar species
Egretta thula, Egretta caerulea, Ardea alba
Summary
Bubulcus ibis are small stocky herons that associate with grazing species of mammals both domestic and wild. They have strong migratory instincts and disperse thousands of miles in the direction of their choosing. They are, for the most part, self-introduced. They have been observed 'feeding on' native species of birds. They are known to host ticks that could introduce and spread certain tick-borne diseases.
Species Description
Cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis) are relatively small, stocky herons, with thick short necks (shorter than body), completely white in colour, except when breeding, at which time they are adorned by orange buff plumes on their crown, back and foreneck. The bill is yellow with a heavy jowl of feathers underneath and the legs are yellow to green and the eyes are light yellow when not breeding. During the breeding season the bill and legs are pink to orange-red and the eyes become a shade of bright red and the lores become purple-pink. Juveniles have black bills. Males and females typically grow to between 51-56cm in length and weigh around 360g (Birds of New Zealand, 2005; Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 2003; and GSMFC, 2005).
Lifecycle Stages
Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) clutches vary from 1 to 9 pale blue eggs, but typically consist of 3 to 4 eggs. The incubation period can last between 21 and 26 days. Depending on food availability, of the three to four eggs laid, usually only one or two are raised successfully, with later hatching chicks at a decided disadvantage. Young begin to fly in 25-30 days and become independent after about 45 days. B. ibis often nest in colonies with other egrets. Nests are in trees and three white eggs are laid. Both adults incubate and feed chicks by regurgitation. Youngsters scramble onto nearby branches as early as two weeks but do not fly until six or seven weeks of age (Birds of New Zealand, 2005; and GSMFC, 2005).
Uses
Some ranchers rely on cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis) for fly control more than they do pesticides (Ivory, 2000).
Habitat Description
Cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis) are common around marshes, farms, highway edges, pastures, ploughed fields and other altered habitats. They are strongly migratory and juveniles may disperse thousands of miles in random directions (GSMFC, 2005).
Reproduction
GSMFC (2005) reports that, \"Bubulcus ibis are promiscuous, with males frequently engaging in extra-pair copulation. They begin to breed at age two or three (Kaufman, 1996). Cattle egrets are colonial breeders, and are frequently found in mixed colonies with other species of herons and egrets. Males establish pairing territories within the colonies and carry out elaborate displays for females. Nests are typically built in aquatic habitats in trees or shrubs of swamps or islands. Nesting materials typically include reeds, shrubs and elder twigs. Males bring most of the material for the nests and females build the nests. Nests are platforms or shallow bowls often with protruding green leafy twigs. Nest building and mating usually lasts three days. Immediately following mating, cattle egrets begin to lose their breeding colours.\"
Nutrition
Cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis) are opportunistic feeders and typically forage in flocks often associated with grazing animals and pick off parasites on the large herbivores. They may also follow tractors or lawnmowers waiting for insects and other prey items that are flushed out. They feed mostly on relatively large insects, especially grasshoppers, crickets, flies and moths as well as spiders, frogs, crayfish, earthworms, snakes and rarely also fish, birds eggs and even nestling birds. B. ibis also scavenge for edible refuse in garbage dumps. Egrets will fly long distances to catch insects trying to escape fire (Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 2003; and GSMFC, 2005).

Principal source: Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSFMC), 2005 Bubulcus ibis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 2003 Cattle Egret

Compiler: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)

Review: Expert review underway: Michel Gauthier-Clerc, Station Biologique de la Tour Du Valat France

Publication date: 2008-09-27

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2016) Species profile: Bubulcus ibis. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=970 on 09-12-2016.

General Impacts
Cattle egrets are able to thrive in areas densly populated by other species, and this makes them potentially able to over-crowd and out-comepete native birds for nesting areas. A number of articles point out however, that cattle egrets seem to have little or no impact on native bird species they live with. They are known to nest next to and amongst native birds with little or no observable conflict occuring, and because their nesting time is after native Herons, this further reduces threat of competition. Lastly, their diet, which is mostly insects and land invertebrates, does not overlap with native Heron's diets, which are fish and aquatic invertebrates. (GSMFC, 2005)
Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Bubulcus ibis
NATIVE RANGE
  • albania
  • algeria
  • austria
  • belgium
  • benin
  • botswana
  • czech republic
  • denmark
  • egypt
  • finland
  • france
  • germany
  • greece
  • hungary
  • israel
  • italy
  • kazakhstan
  • morocco
  • netherlands
  • poland
  • portugal
  • serbia and montenegro
  • south africa
  • spain
  • sudan
  • sweden
  • switzerland
  • thailand
  • turkey
  • united kingdom
  • zimbabwe
Informations on Bubulcus ibis has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Bubulcus ibis in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
Cattle egrets are able to thrive in areas densly populated by other species, and this makes them potentially able to over-crowd and out-comepete native birds for nesting areas. A number of articles point out however, that cattle egrets seem to have little or no impact on native bird species they live with. They are known to nest next to and amongst native birds with little or no observable conflict occuring, and because their nesting time is after native Herons, this further reduces threat of competition. Lastly, their diet, which is mostly insects and land invertebrates, does not overlap with native Heron's diets, which are fish and aquatic invertebrates. (GSMFC, 2005)
Red List assessed species 1: VU = 1;
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Locations
CHILE
UNITED STATES
Mechanism
[1] Competition
[1] Predation
Outcomes
[2] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [2] Reduction in native biodiversity
Management information
Bibliography
25 references found for Bubulcus ibis

Managment information
Varnham, K. 2006. Non-native species in UK Overseas Territories: a review. JNCC Report 372. Peterborough: United Kingdom.
Summary: This database compiles information on alien species from British Overseas Territories.
Available from: http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-3660 [Accessed 10 November 2009]
General information
Bella, S. M., and S. M. Azevendo. 2004. Consideracoes sobre a ocorrencla da garca-vaqueira, Bubulcus ibis (Linnaeus) (Aves, Ardeidae), em Pernambuco, Brasil. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 21(1):57-63.
Bergman, D. L., M. D. Chandler, and A. Locklear. 2000. The Economic Impact of Invasive Species to Wildlife Services Cooperators. Uman Conflicts with Wildlife Economic Considerations.
Birds of New Zealand. 2005. Cattle egret. New Zealand Birds Limited: Greytown, New Zealand.
Summary: Available from: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/cattleegret.html [Accessed 13 January 2006]
Botkin, D. B. 2001. The Naturalness of Biological Invasions. Western North American Naturalist 61(3), pp. 261-266.
CAST (Council for Agricultural Science and Technology). 2002. Invasive Pest Species Impacts on Agricultural Production, Natural Resources, and the Environment. Issue Paper 20, March 2002.
CONABIO. 2008. Sistema de informaci�n sobre especies invasoras en M�xico. Especies invasoras - Aves. Comisi�n Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad. Fecha de acceso.
Summary: English:
The species list sheet for the Mexican information system on invasive species currently provides information related to Scientific names, family, group and common names, as well as habitat, status of invasion in Mexico, pathways of introduction and links to other specialised websites. Some of the higher risk species already have a direct link to the alert page. It is important to notice that these lists are constantly being updated, please refer to the main page (http://www.conabio.gob.mx/invasoras/index.php/Portada), under the section Novedades for information on updates.
Invasive species - birds is available from: http://www.conabio.gob.mx/invasoras/index.php/Especies_invasoras_-_Aves [Accessed 30 July 2008]
Spanish:
La lista de especies del Sistema de informaci�n sobre especies invasoras de m�xico cuenta actualmente con informaci�n aceca de nombre cient�fico, familia, grupo y nombre com�n, as� como h�bitat, estado de la invasi�n en M�xico, rutas de introducci�n y ligas a otros sitios especializados. Algunas de las especies de mayor riesgo ya tienen una liga directa a la p�gina de alertas. Es importante resaltar que estas listas se encuentran en constante proceso de actualizaci�n, por favor consulte la portada (http://www.conabio.gob.mx/invasoras/index.php/Portada), en la secci�n novedades, para conocer los cambios.
Especies invasoras - Aves is available from: http://www.conabio.gob.mx/invasoras/index.php/Especies_invasoras_-_Aves [Accessed 30 July 2008]
Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2003. Cattle Egret. All About Birds Online Guide.
Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), 2010. Species: Bubulcus ibis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Summary: Available from: http://www.gbif.net/species/13836145/ [Accessed 15 June 2010]
Goutner, V., H. Jerrentrup, S. Kazantzidis, and T. Nazirides. 1991. Occurrence of the cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis, in Greece. Rivista Italiana di Ornitologia. 61(3-4). 107-112.
Heather, B. D. 1980. The Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis in New Zealand 1978-1980. Source Notornis. 29(4). 1982. 241-268.
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System), 2005. Online Database Bubulcus ibis
Summary: An online database that provides taxonomic information, common names, synonyms and geographical jurisdiction of a species. In addition links are provided to retrieve biological records and collection information from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal and bioscience articles from BioOne journals.
Available from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=174803 [Accessed 7 September 2005]
Ivory, A. 2000. Bubulcus ibis. (On-line), Animal Diversity Web.
Jaksic, F.M. 1998. Vertebrate invaders and their ecological impacts in Chile. Biodiversity and Conservation 7, 1427�1445 (1998).
Jandres, M. V. 2002. Diagn�stico de las especies invasoras de fauna vertebrada y sus efectos sobre ecosistemas en El Salvador. Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales.
Krebs, E. A., D. R. Ramsey, and W. Hunte. 1994. The colonization of Barbados by cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis) 1956-1990. Source Colonial Waterbirds. 17(1). 1994. 86-90.
Lovich, J. 1996. Wildlife as Weeds. California Exotic Pest Plant Council 1996 Symposium Proceedings: U.S. Geological Survey.
Marion, L., D. Brugiere, and P. Grisser. 1993. An invasion of nesting Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis in France in 1992. Alauda. 61(3). 1993. 129-136.
Orgeira, J. L. 1996. Cattle egrets Bubulcus ibis at sea in the South Atlantic Ocean. Marine Ornithology 24: 57-58. Short communications 1996 57 (1996).
Scebba, S., G. Moschetti, M. Rocco, and R. Lenza. 1993. Observations of cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis, in Campania (S. Italy). Rivista Italiana di Ornitologia. 63(1). 1993. 124-125.
Smith, F. B. 1960. First Records of Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis) in Guatemala.. Auk 77: pg 218 (General Notes).
Stone, C. P., and S. J. Anderson. 1988. Introduced Animals in Hawaii s Natural Areas. Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings collection: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Vertebrate Pest Conference. University of Nebraska.
Sueur, F. 1993. First case of the cattle egret Bubulcus ibis nesting at Marquenterre (Somme, north-west France). Alauda. 61(3). 1993. 195-197.
Contact
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