1562. Bubulcus coromandus.
The Cattle Egret.
Cancroma coromanda, Bodd. Tabl. PL Enl. p. 54 (1783). Herodias bubulcus, apud Blyth, Cat. p. 280 ; Irby, Ibis, 1861, p. 245 ; nec Ardea bubulcus, Aud. Buphus coromandus, Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 749 ; Stoliczka, J. A, S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 254; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 23; Fairbank, ibid. p. 263 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 481 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 230. Bubulcus coromandus, Hume, S. F. i, p. 256; Adam, ibid. p. 399; Hume, S. F, ii, p. 309; Ball, ibid. p. 434 ; Armstrong, S. F. iv, p. 349; Cripps, S. F. vii, p. 307; Hume, Cat. no. 929; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 361; Doig, ibid. p. 372 ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1147; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 89; Butler, ibid. p. 434; Reid, S. F. x, p. 75 ; Davidson, ibid. p. 323; Hume, ibid. p. 416; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 251 ; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 247; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 381; id. Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 145 ; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 333 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxvi, p. 217. ? Herodias melanopus, apud Oates, S. F. iii, p. 190. ? Ardea bubulcus, apud St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 178, nec Aud.
Surkhia-bagla, Badami-bagla, Doria-bagla, H.; Gai-bogla, H. & Beng. ; Samti-tonga, Tel.; Huni koku, Tam. (Ceylon) ; Gehri-koka, Cinghalese.
Coloration. In winter or when not breeding pure white. In breeding-plumage the head, neck, and long dorsal plumes are orange-buff, the latter varying to pinkish or brownish buff; chin and fore part of neck white ; the dorsal plumes decomposed and scarcely extending or not extending beyond the tail.
Bill, loral skin, and eyelids yellow; loral skin tinged with greenish; iris pale golden yellow ; tarsi and feet black, tibia yellow, soles greenish yellow (Legge).
Length 20 ; tail 3.75 ; wing 10 ; tarsus 3.5 ; bill from gape 3.
Distribution. India, Ceylon, and Burma; South-eastern Asia, and the islands as far as Corea, the Philippines, and the Moluccas.
Habits, &c. Common and resident throughout the better watered parts of the Empire, but far less commonly seen about swamps than other Herons. This Egret is a constant attendant on cattle, either oxen or buffaloes, frequently perching on their backs, and feeding mainly on the insects that are attracted by cattle and on grasshoppers. Vast numbers of this species breed together, often in company with Egrets, Pond Herons, &c.; they make the usual nest of sticks in trees, and lay 3 to 5 very pale greenish eggs, measuring about 1.71 by 1.32. The breeding-season is from June to August in most parts of India, but in the Carnatic in November and December.