1554. Ardea manillensis.
The Eastern Purple Heron.
Ardea purpurea, apud Blyth, Cat. p. 278 ; Irby, Ibis, 1861, p. 244 Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 743 ; Hume, Ibis, 1869, p. 238 ; id. N.. & E p. 611; Ban, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 289; Hume, S. F. i, p. 253 ; ii, p. 303 ; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 159 ; Butler & Hume, S. F. iv,. p. 23; Fairbank, ibid. p. 263 ; Oates, S. F. v, p. 167; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 472 ; Hume & Board. S. F. vii, p. 39; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 230; Cripps, ibid. p. 307 ; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 686; Hume, Cat. no. 924; Doiy, S. F. viii, p. 372; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1132; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 88; Butler, ibid. p. 433; Reid, S. F. x, p. 74; Davidson, ibid. p. 323; Hume, ibid. p. 416 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 245 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 378 ; id. Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 143; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 332; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 235. Phoyx manillensis, Sharpe, Bull. B. O. C. iii, p. xxxviii (1894).
The Purple Heron, Jerdon; Nari, Lal-sain, Lal-anjan, H.; Khyra in Behar; Lal-kank, Beng.; Pamula nari-gadu, Tel.; Sannari, Tam.; Karawal-koka, Singh.; Khyung byaing, Arrakan; Nga-hit, Burm.
Coloration. Forehead, crown, long occipital crest, a streak down the back of the neck, one on each side down the side of the neck, and another streak on each side from the gape to the nape slaty black ; chin and throat white ; rest of head and neck ferruginous red, paler and buff on sides of head and middle of fore neck; long feathers overhanging upper breast buffy white, streaked with black and chestnut; lower hind neck, back, rump and upper tail-coverts, wings and tail slaty grey, the back darker, and the quills and tail-feathers blackish ; scapulars with long pointed rufous ends ; middle of breast and abdomen and lower tail-coverts slaty black ; sides of breast rich chestnut; flanks ashy grey; thigh-coverts cinnamon ; wing-lining mostly ferruginous.
Young birds have neither crest nor lengthened plumes on the scapulars or breast; the upper parts are brownish grey, with broad rufous edges to the feathers; crown partly grey; neck rufous, fore neck with black streaks; lower surface a mixture of buff and grey.
This Heron is distinguished from the Purple Heron of Europe, Africa, and South-western Asia (A. purpurea) by wanting the black streaks on the fore neck.
Bill deep yellow, brownish above; orbital skin greenish yellow ; irides yellow; tarsus reddish brown, yellowish behind and on the soles of the feet (Jerdon).
Length 38; tail 5.25 ; wing 14.5 ; tarsus 5.5 ; bill from gape 6, Toes very long, the middle toe and claw as long as the tarsus.
Distribution. Throughout the Oriental region. Common in suitable localities throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma.
Habits, &c. A shy skulking bird, that generally hides in high reeds, and may, as Jerdon remarks, often be observed with its head and long neck protruded above the grass. It is not found in open ground, and it roosts on low trees ; it not unfrequently feeds at night. When disturbed it rises with a harsh cry. It breeds¬ in thickets or in dense clumps of bulrushes, and makes large stick-nests, in which it lays 4, or sometimes 5, bluish-green eggs, measuring about 2.17 by 1.56. The breeding-season in most parts of India and Burma is July and August, but in Ceylon December to March.