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The Cattle Egret is a stocky heron with a 88–96 cm (35–38 in) wingspan; it is 46–56 centimetres (18–22 in) in length and weighs 270–512 grams (9.5–18.1 oz).It has a relatively short thick neck, sturdy bill, and a hunched posture. The non-breeding adult has mainly white plumage, a yellow bill and greyish-yellow legs. During the breeding season, adults of the nominate western subspecies develop orange-buff plumes on the back, breast and crown, and the bill, legs and irises become bright red for a brief period prior to pairing.The sexes are similar, but the male is marginally larger and has slightly longer breeding plumes than the female; juvenile birds lack coloured plumes and have a black bill.
It is a stocky white bird adorned with buff plumes in the breeding season which nests in colonies, usually near bodies of water and often with other wading birds. The nest is a platform of sticks in trees or shrubs. Unlike most other herons, it feeds in relatively dry grassy habitats, often accompanying cattle or other large mammals, since it catches insect and small vertebrate prey disturbed by these animals
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