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Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2013 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Low
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 26,900,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 19,500,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Increasing -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 8.1 - - -
Population justification: The population is estimated to number 3,800,000-7,600,000 individuals.
Trend justification: The overall population trend is increasing, although some populations may be stable or decreasing and others have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006). This species has undergone a small or statistically insignificant decrease over the last 40 years in North America (data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007) Note, however, that these surveys cover less than 50% of the species's range in North America.

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage Resident
Afghanistan Unknown Extant        
Albania Vagrant Extant        
Algeria Native Extant        
Angola Native Extant        
Anguilla (to UK) Native Extant        
Antarctica Vagrant Extant        
Antigua and Barbuda Native Extant        
Argentina Native Extant        
Armenia Native Extant Yes      
Aruba (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Australia Native Extant Yes      
Austria Vagrant Extant        
Azerbaijan Native Extant Yes      
Bahamas Native Extant        
Bahrain Native Extant   Yes Yes  
Bangladesh Native Extant        
Barbados Native Extant        
Belarus Vagrant Extant        
Belgium Vagrant Extant        
Belize Native Extant   Yes    
Benin Native Extant        
Bermuda (to UK) Native Extant        
Bhutan Native Extant        
Bolivia Native Extant        
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Bosnia and Herzegovina Vagrant Extant        
Botswana Native Extant        
Brazil Native Extant        
British Indian Ocean Territory Introduced Extant Yes      
Brunei Native Extant        
Bulgaria Vagrant Extinct Yes      
Burkina Faso Native Extant        
Burundi Native Extant        
Cambodia Native Extant        
Cameroon Native Extant        
Canada Native Extant Yes      
Cape Verde Native Extant        
Cayman Islands (to UK) Native Extant        
Central African Republic Native Extant        
Chad Native Extant        
Chile Native Extant        
China (mainland) Native Extant        
Christmas Island (to Australia) Vagrant Extant        
Cocos (Keeling) Islands (to Australia) Native Extant        
Colombia Native Extant        
Comoros Native Extant        
Congo Native Extant        
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Native Extant        
Costa Rica Native Extant   Yes    
Côte d'Ivoire Native Extant        
Croatia Vagrant Extant        
Cuba Native Extant        
Curaçao (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Cyprus Native Extant     Yes  
Czech Republic Vagrant Extant        
Denmark Vagrant Extant        
Djibouti Native Extant        
Dominica Native Extant        
Dominican Republic Native Extant        
Ecuador Native Extant        
Egypt Native Extant        
El Salvador Native Extant        
Equatorial Guinea Native Extant        
Eritrea Native Extant        
Ethiopia Native Extant        
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Native Extant        
Finland Vagrant Extant        
France Native Extant     Yes Yes
French Guiana Native Extant        
Gabon Native Extant        
Gambia Native Extant        
Georgia Native Extant        
Germany Vagrant Extant        
Ghana Native Extant        
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant   Yes    
Greece Native Extant Yes   Yes  
Grenada Native Extant Yes      
Guadeloupe (to France) Native Extant        
Guam (to USA) Native Extant   Yes    
Guatemala Native Extant        
Guinea Native Extant        
Guinea-Bissau Native Extant        
Guyana Native Extant        
Haiti Native Extant        
Honduras Native Extant        
Hong Kong (China) Native Extant Yes      
Hungary Vagrant Extant        
Iceland Vagrant Extant        
India Native Extant        
Indonesia Native Extant        
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant     Yes Yes
Iraq Native Extant       Yes
Ireland Vagrant Extant        
Israel Native Extant       Yes
Italy Native Extant       Yes
Jamaica Introduced Extant Yes      
Japan Native Extant        
Jordan Native Extant     Yes Yes
Kazakhstan Native Extant Yes      
Kenya Native Extant        
Kuwait Native Extant   Yes    
Laos Native Extant        
Latvia Vagrant Extant        
Lebanon Native Extant     Yes  
Lesotho Native Extant        
Liberia Native Extant        
Libya Native Extant        
Liechtenstein Vagrant Extant        
Lithuania Vagrant Extant        
Luxembourg Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Macao (China) Native Extant        
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Vagrant Extant        
Madagascar Native Extant        
Malawi Native Extant        
Malaysia Native Extant        
Maldives Native Extant Yes      
Mali Native Extant Yes      
Malta Vagrant Extant        
Marshall Islands Native Extant   Yes    
Martinique (to France) Native Extant        
Mauritania Native Extant        
Mauritius Native Extant        
Mayotte (to France) Native Extant        
Mexico Native Extant        
Micronesia, Federated States of Native Extant   Yes    
Montenegro Native Extant Yes      
Montserrat (to UK) Native Extant        
Morocco Native Extant        
Mozambique Native Extant        
Myanmar Native Extant        
Namibia Native Extant        
Nepal Native Extant        
Netherlands Native Extant Yes      
New Caledonia (to France) Vagrant Extant        
New Zealand Native Extant        
Nicaragua Native Extant        
Niger Native Extant        
Nigeria Native Extant        
Norfolk Island (to Australia) Vagrant Extant        
North Korea Native Extant Yes      
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) Native Extant   Yes    
Norway Vagrant Extant        
Oman Native Extant   Yes    
Pakistan Native Extant        
Palau Native Extant   Yes    
Palestinian Authority Territories Native Extant   Yes    
Panama Native Extant        
Papua New Guinea Native Extant        
Paraguay Native Extant        
Peru Native Extant        
Philippines Native Extant        
Poland Vagrant Extant        
Portugal Native Extant       Yes
Puerto Rico (to USA) Native Extant Yes      
Qatar Native Extant     Yes  
Réunion (to France) Native Extant        
Romania Native Extant Yes      
Russia Native Extant       Yes
Russia (Asian) Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Russia (European) Native Extant Yes      
Rwanda Native Extant        
São Tomé e Príncipe Native Extant        
Saudi Arabia Native Extant     Yes Yes
Senegal Native Extant        
Serbia Native Extant Yes      
Seychelles Native Extant        
Sierra Leone Native Extant        
Singapore Native Extant        
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) Native Extant        
Slovenia Vagrant Extant        
Somalia Native Extant        
South Africa Native Extant        
South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands Native Extant        
South Korea Native Extant        
South Sudan Native Extant Yes Yes    
Spain Native Extant     Yes Yes
Sri Lanka Native Extant        
St Helena (to UK) Native Extant        
St Kitts and Nevis Native Extant        
St Lucia Native Extant        
St Martin (to France) Native Extant        
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) Vagrant Extant     Yes  
St Vincent and the Grenadines Native Extant        
Sudan Native Extant        
Suriname Native Extant        
Swaziland Native Extant        
Sweden Vagrant Extant        
Switzerland Vagrant Extant        
Syria Native Extant     Yes Yes
Taiwan (China) Native Extant        
Tajikistan Vagrant Extant        
Tanzania Native Extant Yes      
Thailand Native Extant        
Timor-Leste Native Extant       Yes
Togo Native Extant        
Trinidad and Tobago Native Extant        
Tunisia Native Extant        
Turkey Native Extant       Yes
Turkmenistan Native Extant Yes      
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Native Extant        
Uganda Native Extant        
United Arab Emirates Native Extant     Yes Yes
United Kingdom Vagrant Extant        
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) Native Extant   Yes    
Uruguay Native Extant Yes      
USA Native Extant Yes      
Uzbekistan Vagrant Extant        
Venezuela Native Extant        
Vietnam Native Extant        
Virgin Islands (to UK) Native Extant       Yes
Virgin Islands (to USA) Native Extant       Yes
Western Sahara Native Extant        
Yemen Native Extant     Yes Yes
Zambia Native Extant        
Zimbabwe Native Extant        

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Algeria Bou Redim site factsheet
Argentina Reserva de Uso Múltiple Bañados del Río Dulce y Laguna Mar Chiquita site factsheet
Azerbaijan Lake Mahmudchala site factsheet
Cameroon Logone flood-plain site factsheet
Guinea-Bissau Arquipélago dos Bijagós site factsheet
Indonesia Dataran Banjir Ogan Komering site factsheet
Indonesia Pulau Dua site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Anzali Mordab complex site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Horeh Bamdej site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Miankaleh Peninsula and Gorgan Bay site factsheet
Iran, Islamic Republic of Seyed Mohalli, Zarin Kola and Larim Sara site factsheet
Israel Carmel coast site factsheet
Israel Hefer valley site factsheet
Israel Jezre'el, Harod and Bet She'an valleys site factsheet
Israel Judean foothills site factsheet
Israel Northern lower Jordan valley site factsheet
Israel Zevulun valley site factsheet
Kenya Tana River Delta site factsheet
Mali Kouakourou site factsheet
Mali Koumbé Niasso site factsheet
Mali Lac Débo - Lac Oualado Débo site factsheet
Mali Timisobo - Képagou site factsheet
Morocco Sebkha Bou Areg site factsheet
Nicaragua Bluefields Bay and adjacent landscape site factsheet
Nicaragua Juan Venado Island site factsheet
Niger Tchérassa reservoir site factsheet
Philippines Manila Bay site factsheet
Portugal Murta dam site factsheet
Portugal Paul do Taipal site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Malaki dam site factsheet
Saudi Arabia Umm al-Qamari site factsheet
South Sudan Sudd (Bahr-el-Jebel system) site factsheet
Spain Albufera de Valencia marshes site factsheet
Spain Almenara marshes site factsheet
Spain Ampurdán marshes site factsheet
Spain Azután reservoir site factsheet
Spain Borbollón reservoir site factsheet
Spain Bornos reservoir site factsheet
Spain Campo Arañuelo-Valdecañas reservoir site factsheet
Spain Ceuta site factsheet
Spain Ebro delta site factsheet
Spain Isla Cristina and Ayamonte marshes and Prado lagoon site factsheet
Spain La Janda site factsheet
Spain La Serena site factsheet
Spain Malpartida de Cáceres-Arroyo de la Luz site factsheet
Spain Malpica island (River Tagus) site factsheet
Spain Medas islands site factsheet
Spain Medina-Sidonia site factsheet
Spain Mérida-Montijo reservoir site factsheet
Spain Pela mountain range-Orellana reservoir-Zorita site factsheet
Spain River Mijares mouth site factsheet
Spain San Pedro mountain range site factsheet
Spain Tajo de Barbate coastal cliffs site factsheet
Spain Trujillo-Torrecillas de la Tiesa site factsheet
Spain Valongo site factsheet
Spain Valuengo reservoir site factsheet
Tanzania Wembere steppe site factsheet
Trinidad and Tobago Caroni Swamp site factsheet
Yemen Al-Murah site factsheet
Yemen Ta'izz wadis site factsheet
Zambia Bangweulu Swamps site factsheet
Zambia Barotse Floodplains site factsheet
Zambia Kafue Flats site factsheet
Zambia Mweru Wantipa National Park site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land Suitable breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland Major breeding
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland Suitable passage
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded Major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) Major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) Major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) Major breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) Major non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 4080 m Occasional altitudinal limits  


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - -  
Food - human - - -  
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - -  
Other household goods - - -  
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - - Subsistence, National
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - - Subsistence, National
Other household goods - - - Subsistence, National
Food - human - - - Subsistence, National

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Bubulcus ibis. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Ardeidae (Herons)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 26,900,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change
- 2015 European Red List assessment