cattle egret which is widely found in India is a natural scavenger. A study from Kerala says that the wetland egret, Bubulcus ibis, can be used as bio-control agent in solid-waste dumping sites. The research has been published in the October 2007 issue of the Zoo's Print Journal (Vol 22, No 10).
The study was carried out in a solid waste dumping site in the Kozhikode municipal corporation area which is located close to wetlands. The cattle egrets are frequent visitors to the site. Researchers have found that the birds are widely exploiting the solid waste which is rich with the larvae of disease spreading house flies (Musca domestica) and blue bottle flies (Calliphora species).
The study says that cattle egrets remove about 100-150 grams of maggots daily. The population of the bird ranged from 98-386 in the area studied by the researchers.
Cattle egret are usually not seen from June to September since they migrate to other regions to breed. During this period, maggots were found in high numbers. "Such artificial habitats where prey is available in abundance are preferred by the egrets because they are more terrestrial and insect-eating," the study says.
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