Ardea cinerea, Lin.
923. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 741; Butler, Guzerat Stray Feathers, Vol. IV, p. 23 ; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 433 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 269; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 135.
THE BLUE HERON.
Length, 39 ; expanse, 66 ; wing, 18 ; tail, 8 ; tarsus, 5.75 ; bill at front, 5.
Bill dark yellow, brownish on culmen; irides gamboge-yellow ; lores and naked orbitar skin greenish; legs and feet brown.
Adult: forehead and crown pure white; occiput black, and a pendent crest of narrow, long, black feathers at the back of the head; neck white; back and wings fine bluish-grey; quills black; scapulars silvery-grey, long and pointed, forming graceful plumes; tail bluish-ashy; forepart of the neck with longitudinal black spots, the feathers drooping down on the top of the breast, loose, and elongated, and forming a fine pectoral plume; lower breast and the rest of the under parts pure white.
The young bird has the head and neck ashy, with dusky-grey streaks in front; the upper plumage tinged with brown; and the lengthened occipital feathers as well as the breast plumes absent.
The Common Heron occurs plentifully throughout the region.
They are permanent residents, but disappear from many places during the breeding season, when they in company with other Herons and Egrets, form immense breeding colonies. Such colonies occur on the dhunds along the Eastern Narra Canal in Sind, and other places in the district. They all build platform nests, composed of sticks, and the eggs are very similar, only differing somewhat in size.
Further on a table will be found giving dimensions of the eggs of the various species.
They breed usually during the rains.