Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis interactions with large mammals in the Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem, Northern Tanzania
While Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis are globally widespread, their ecology is not fully understood. Surveys of the species were undertaken in November 2012, and April 2013, in Lake Manyara National Park, Manyara Ranch, and outside the two protected areas. We investigated the effects of host identity, habitat type and host animal behaviour on Cattle Egret numbers and distribution. Cattle Egrets associated more with grazers than with mixed-feeders or browsers, and chose large-bodied animals over small-bodied ones. They preferred wetland and grassland, over bushland. These findings underscore the importance of wetland management and the maintenance of healthy grasslands for the future of Cattle Egrets. Declines in large-bodied mammal species are likely to negatively affect them.