Trivia question for Sep-07-2011
Carter has always liked birds but as he learns more about them and their diversity he is really starting to come up with some cool facts about them. Here is his trivia for today. These birds are highly social birds and can usually be seen near grazing animals.
The adult of this species has few predators, but birds or mammals may raid its nests, and chicks may be lost to starvation, calcium deficiency or disturbance from other large birds. This species removes ticks and flies from grazing animals, but it can be a safety hazard at airfields, and has been implicated in the spread of tick-borne animal diseases.
This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 3.8 million square miles. Its global population estimated to be 3.8–6.7 million individuals. For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. On the other hand the expansion and establishment of the species over large ranges has led it to be classed as an invasive species (although little, if any impact has been noted yet).
So here are Carter’s questions: Tell us what this bird is and tell us what the male does to collect nesting materials for the female? Also, tell us how much less energy these birds use to find food when they travel with a herd of grazing animals vs feeding alone?
Good Luck 😉
Congratulations to Venessa from Little Rock AR for getting the species correct. Sorry you had so much trouble finding the other data. Carter worked hard to try and stump everyone. The birds we featured are the Cattle Egret. The Cattle Egret is a cosmopolitan species of heron found in the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate zones. They are sometimes called the Western Cattle Egret and the Eastern Cattle Egret depending on location.
The male egret sometimes steals nesting materials from birds of other species and gives them to the female to build the nest. When following cattle, egrets have been found to expend one-third less energy and gain 50% more food for less effort than birds feeding alone. The Cattle Egret has undergone one of the most rapid and wide reaching natural expansions of any bird species. It was originally native to parts of Southern Spain and Portugal, tropical and subtropical Africa and humid tropical and subtropical Asia.
In the end of the 19th century it began expanding its range into southern Africa, first breeding in the Cape Province in 1908. Cattle Egrets were first sighted in the Americas on the boundary of Guiana and Suriname in 1877, having apparently flown across the Atlantic Ocean. It was not until the 1930s that the species is thought to have become established in that area. Here is more on these plentiful birds: Cattle Egret
Thanks for playing along 😉