Mutualistic nature of Egret, Indian Bird

Various egrets have been recorded in India. They belong to the kingdom, Animalia; phylum, Chordata; class, Aves; order, Pelecaniformes and family Ardeidae. Egrets form symbiotic relationships with many different animals all over the world. Today, they are the most wide spread wading bird in the world. Cattle egrets are small, white birds sit comfortably on the back of a cow, an ox, or a buffalo. Cattle egrets sometimes hunt like other wading birds, catching fish and frogs along the water’s edge.

Large grazers have very poor eyesight but they have good senses of smell and hearing. On the other hand, birds have excellent eyesight but very poor sense of smell.

However, most often, they follow herds of livestock to eat the grasshoppers that are stirred up by the cattle’s hoofs. Cattle egrets eat little bugs that bite and tend to bother the cattle. Grazing mammals are often found together with certain birds. For example, the heron (cattle egret) is usually found with buffaloes, cattle or elephants, and ostriches are found where zebras graze. This association seems to be mutually beneficial to the birds and to the mammals. Cattle egrets follow grazing cows and eat the flies and bugs that tend to bother the cattle. The movement of foraging livestock also dislodges various insects from the field, which cattle egrets feed on.

 

Large grazers have very poor eyesight but they have good senses of smell and hearing. On the other hand, birds have excellent eyesight but very poor sense of smell.

Presented By:- Dr. Mamta Joshi
Department of Zoology
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College Of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital

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