Food of Wintering Cattle Egrets Ardea ibis

Regurgitates and oesophageal contents from five Cattle Egrets Ardea ibis found dead under powerlines near a winter roost in northern New South Wales were analysed. The major prey components (by number) were orthopteran insects (42.8%), spiders (22.6%), flies (22.0%) and lepidopterans (7.9%). Both the range of prey, and those types comprising the major components, were similar to that previously reported taken by breeding Cattle Egrets, although there were some differences in the relative proportions. Although based on only a small sample the results suggest that prey eaten by non-breeding birds wintering within the egrets’ breeding range in north-eastern New South Wales is similar to that consumed in summer.

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