The Lady and the Egret

posted in: Heron-Egret-Bittern, Interspecific | 0

“Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis coromundus) have symbiotic relationships with cattle and other animals. They feed on parasitic ticks on the cattle and also benefit from insects and other prey stirred up by the cattle’s grazing. I previously posted observations of Great Egrets with fishermen LINK and wondered about the symbiotic relationship – what does the boat man get out of it?

EgretCattle-grass cutter [AmarSingh]

“In Nepal we observed a lady cutting grass, presumably as fodder for animals. A Cattle Egret accompanied her at very close range to take advantage of the activity and feed on prey disturbed by the lady (above, below). This was happening in the heat of the day ~ 2pm.

EgretCattle-grass cutter [AmarSingh]

“Many of us would have seen egrets turn up to feed when fields are ploughed or grass/crops cut by machines. But here the relationship is a little more ‘personal’. The local community in Nepal do not have a habit of eating birds and hence birds are not as afraid as in other parts of Asia.

“Cutting grass is a tiring activity and having a silent ‘companion’ helps ease the burden.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
11th November 2017

Location: Pokhara, Gandaki Zone, Western Region, Nepal at 900m ASL
Habitat: Park in the city adjust to a large lake

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