Is the Relationship Between a Cattle Egret and Cow an Example of Symbiosis?

Cattle egrets share a symbiotic relationship with grazing cows. A symbiotic relationship is one where two species benefit off of each other.

Cattle egrets follow grazing cows and eat the flies and bugs that tend to bother the cattle. The movement of foraging livestock also dislodges various insects from the field, which cattle egrets feed on. This type of symbiotic relationship is called commensalism. Commensalism is a type of relationship where one species benefits from the relationship, while the other species remains unaffected by the relationship.

There are two other types of symbiotic relationships:

  • Mutualism: A relationship where both organisms enjoy benefits
  • Parasitism: A relationship where one organism benefits and the second is harmed