Somerset

Rare egrets breed successfully in Somerset

cattle egret Image copyright John Crispin
Image caption Cattle egrets have yellow or greyish legs and a yellow beak

Rare cattle egret chicks have successfully hatched in Somerset.

The wildlife charity the RSPB says it is only the second time the species has managed to breed in the UK. They first bred in the county in 2008.

Five pairs of cattle egrets on the Ham Wall site, near Glastonbury, have produced 11 youngsters this year.

The wild birds are members of the heron family. They like to be close to livestock as their large hooves disturb worms and insects they can feed on.

Cattle egrets have yellow or greyish legs and a yellow beak, compared to the black legs, yellow feet and black beaks of the similar little egret.

Chris Baker of the RSPB said; "This is a great opportunity to monitor and track a newly-colonising species... this is an exciting time for the UK's wildlife."

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