The Cattle Egret
Why is the bird riding on these cattle?
And not just buffaloes, even horses.
The cattle and the horse allow them to sit and go on with their eating. Is the bird helping them?
First, what is the bird called? It is called the Cattle Egret.
The Cattle Egret perches on the back of different grass eating animals and picks out worms from beneath the hair on their skin for eating. These worms suck blood from the cattle and are called parasites. This is how the Egret helps the cattle.
How do the cattle help the egret?
What are these Cattle Egrets doing near their legs this time?
As the cattle grazes on the fields, it shakes up the grass and dust. Because of this, insects like grasshoppers hiding there come out. That’s when they get caught and are eaten up by our Egret who is waiting for them near the cow’s feet. The egret has to be careful so that it doesn’t get trampled by the carelessly walking cow!
This is how both of them help each other.
There is one more special way in which the Egret helps the cattle.
The egrets are much more sensitive than the cattle. They become aware of any approaching danger quicker than the cattle and fly away from them. The cattle are alarmed by their sudden flight and they also become careful.
Observe the Cattle Egret flocking near the elephants and rhinoceros for the same purpose.
One another bird which also rides on the back of animals to pluck out worms from their body is The Oxpecker.