791. Ardea alba

791. GREAT WHITE EGRET.
ARDEA ALBA.
Ardea alba, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 239 (1766) ; Gould, B. of E. iv pl. 276 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iv. pl. xxii. ; Dresser, vi. p. 231, pl. 398 ; (Sharpe), Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxvi. p. 90 ; (Blanf.), F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 385 ; Saunders, p. 371 ; Lilford, vii. p. 15, pl. 6 ; A. egretta, Bechst. Gemeinn. Naturg. Deutschl, iii. p. 41 (1793 nec. Gmel.) ; Naum. ix. p. 85, Taf. 222.
Heron aigrette, French ; Airone bianco maggiore Ital. ; Silber-Reiher, German ; Groote Zilverreiger, Dutch ; Hvit-Hager, Swed. ; Belaya Tschepura, Russ. ; Akwach, Tartar ; Gheti, Way el abiad, Arab. ; Mallang-bagla, Hindu.
Male ad. (Volga). Entire plumage pure white ; feathers on the hind- crown and lower neck elongated and pointed ; a large bunch of filiform hair-like plumes extends from the lower hack beyond the tail ; hill black ; bare space round the eye greenish yellow ; legs dark brown, the bare tibia paler ; iris yellow. Culmen 5.6, wing 16.3, tail 6.6, tarsus 7.2 inch. Female similar but rather smaller. After the breeding season the elongate dorsal plumes are cast, and in the winter the bill is yellow. The young bird resembles the adult in winter but has the plumage laxer, the legs paler and tinged with yellow, and the bill much paler yellow.
Hab. Southern and south-eastern Europe, rarely straying as tar north as Great Britain and Sweden ; Africa as far south as Natal ; Asia east to Burma, the Indian peninsula, and Ceylon.
In general habits this species resembles A. cinerea, and like that bird frequents rivers, streams, lakes, and large morasses, feeding on fish, frogs, aquatic insects, &c. It is companionable not only to others of its own species, but to allied species. Its call-note is a harsh deep rah, and that of the nestling kekkekkek like that of A. cinerea. It nests in societies, usually placing its nest on a tree, but sometimes amongst the dense reed-thickets. The nest is constructed of dry twigs, reeds, and flags, lined with finer leaves of aquatic plants, and the eggs, usually 4, but occasionally 5, in number, are deposited late in March or early in April, and are blue like those of A. cinerea, but smaller, measuring about 2.44 by 1.65.

BookTitle: 
A Manual Of Palaearctic Birds
Reference: 
Dresser, Henry Eeles. A Manual of Palaearctic Birds. Vol. 2. 1903.
Title in Book: 
791. Ardea alba
Book Author: 
H. E. Dresser
CatNo: 
791
Year: 
1903
Page No: 
566
Common name: 
Great White Egret
M_ID: 
2315
M_CN: 
Great Egret
M_SN: 
Ardea alba
Volume: 
Vol. 2
Term name: 
id: 
10291

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