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CATTLE EGRET (Ardea ibis)
Biodiversity > Birds > Regular Visiting Birds

Cattle egret

Rare regular visitor. First record see by Glenn Holmes near Pinetrees on 19 April 1975 (Rogers 1976). Up to 14 birds were seen with cattle near the Airstrip by P. Poulton in April 1977 (Rogers & Lindsey 1978). One  seen by M. Price near the Airstrip in November 1977 (Rogers & Lindsey 1978). Ten birds were seen by John Waugh in April 1978 (Lindsey 1979). Seen by Alan McBride in May 1985 (K.A. Hindwood Bird Recording Service, ML). Nineteen seen by Hutton at the Airstrip on 12 April 1987. Thirty-four seen by Hutton at the Airstrip on 23 April 1988. The Cattle Egret has been recorded at least eight times since 1990 and probably occurs every year.


Since the first record in 1975 this species has become a regular visitor to Lord Howe Island, though in low numbers. The species makes a regular winter migration from Australia to New Zealand each year (Maddock 1990). As the first record of the species in New Zealand was in the early 1960s, it may have visited Lord Howe Island much earlier (Turbott et al. 1963). Thousands of Cattle Egrets have migrated from Australia to New Zealand over the decades, so it seems Lord Howe Island is not a major stopping point and most birds fly direct to New Zealand (Maddock & Bridgman 1992). Most observations on Lord Howe Island are in autumn and spring, though occasionally birds overwinter. Records of the Cattle Egret in autumn are of birds in non-breeding plumage, whereas those in spring are in breeding plumage (Hutton pers. obs.).

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