Cattle Egret, Central Zoo, Kathmandu
One of the beautiful birds I saw on display during my visit to the Central Zoo in Kathmandu was this Cattle Egret. This species was quite familiar to me as it occurs locally here in South Australia. I’ve also seen this species on display in various zoological collections here in Australia.
This species has an interesting history here in Australia. It began colonizing parts of Australia during the 1940s, probably coming from Indonesia. Since then it has spread throughout northern Australia, down through eastern Australia as far as Tasmania and southern Western and South Australia.
It has a wide range of preferred habitats, including pastures, croplands, paddocks, swamps, wetlands, estuaries and tidal mudflats. The individual shown in the photo is showing a little orange plumage on the forehead. In full breeding plumage this species can be spectacular with the whole of the head, throat and front a bright orange colour.
The species is native to Africa and Asia but it has spread to both north and south America as well as to Australia.
The photo below was taken of a bird in a walk through aviary at the Adelaide Zoo in South Australia. It shows the orange breeding plumage.