First cattle egrets breeding in Britain

This video from Ireland says about itself:

Two Cattle Egrets that were found near Redbarn on 3rd December 2007. These are the first in the county since 2005.

From British daily The Independent:

Egrets? We’ve had a few

Rapidly spreading bird breeds in UK for first time as temperatures rise to warmer temperatures

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

Britain has a new species of breeding bird, it was announced yesterday – the cattle egret, a white heron which has spread out from Africa across the globe.

Warmer temperatures are thought to have encouraged the bird to expand its range northwards through Europe, and it has been seen in Britain in recent years.

Now, a pair of the birds, resplendent in the bright orange-buff plumes on the head and breast that signify they are breeding, have successfully raised at least one chick in a tree nest in an undisclosed location in Somerset, and it is thought that more will follow in coming years.

It is closely following the spread to Britain of a related species, the little egret, another white heron that began wintering in numbers here in the 1990s, and first bred on Brownsea Island in Poole, Dorset, in 1996.

Subsequently little egrets, which have a black bill as opposed to the cattle egret’s yellow bill, virtually doubled their breeding numbers every year and there are now hundreds of pairs nesting across Britain.

5 thoughts on “First cattle egrets breeding in Britain

  1. Birds fly north in climate change vanguard – study

    Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:22pm IST

    By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

    OSLO (Reuters) – Birds have been moving north in Europe over the past 25 years because of climate change in the vanguard of likely huge shifts in the ranges of plants and animals, scientists said on Wednesday.

    A study of 42 rare bird species in Britain showed that southern European bird species such as the Dartford warbler, Cirl bunting, little egret or Cetti’s warbler had become more common in Britain from 1980-2004.

    And species usually found in northern Europe, such as the fieldfare, redwing or Slavonian grebe, had become less frequent in Britain.

    “The species are almost certainly responding to the changing climate,” said Brian Huntley of Durham University in England of a report he wrote with researchers at Cambridge University and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

    The study tried to filter out other factors that would affect counts of rare birds, including growing public interest that could mean more sightings. Shifts in farming, pollution, expansion of cities and conservation efforts have all affected wildlife.

    Birds and butterflies are among the first to adapt to climate change because they can fly long distances to seek a cooler habitat. Other creatures and plants can take far longer if their traditional range gets too warm.

    “It depends on the mobility of the species. Birds and butterflies are two of the groups where there is the best evidence that species are already showing responses to the changing climate,” Huntley told Reuters of the study in Royal Society journal Biology Letters.


    The shifts in the birds’ ranges since 1980 were also consistent with scientists’ expectations because of global warming, blamed by the U.N. Climate Panel on human use of fossil fuels in power plants, factories and cars, he said.

    The panel predicted last year that warming will bring desertification, floods, melt glaciers, raise world sea levels, bring big shifts in the ranges of species and extinctions.

    “This gives us greater confidence in the climate models we use for other groups of species — butterflies, plants, reptiles and amphibians,” Huntley said.

    “We rarely have the opportunity to test these kinds of models. We can only wait around for 50 years and wait to see if we were correct. It’s better to have historic data” as a benchmark, he said.

    — For Reuters latest environment blogs click on:


    See also here.


  2. Pingback: Rare cattle egret reaches Ireland | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Rare birds in Britain update | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Many great egrets in the Netherlands | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Many great egrets in the Netherlands – Gaia Gazette

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