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The Food of the Cattle Egret

W. R. Siegfried
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 8, No. 2 (Aug., 1971), pp. 447-468
DOI: 10.2307/2402882
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2402882
Page Count: 22
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The Food of the Cattle Egret
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Abstract

(1) Cattle egrets (Ardeola ibis) feeding in dairy-cattle pastures in the south-western Cape, South Africa, ate mainly grasshoppers, caterpillars and earthworms, though a wide range of other food categories was taken. (2) The most obvious seasonal change in diet involved earthworms: these accounted for about 60%, by weight, of the total food taken during the rainy season (April to October) and were virtually absent (in the birds' stomach contents) at other times of the year. (3) The diet of nestlings resembled that of the independent birds. Grasshoppers and caterpillars were the most important food items. (4) The cattle egret's diet generally is reviewed, chiefly in relation to the agro-economy.

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