Ardea purpurea Linn., Syst. Nat., 12th ed., i, p. 236 (1766) (in Oriente). Founded on Brisson, v, p. 724, pi. xxvi, fig. 2: no locality, but described from a bird in a French Museum. Locality now restricted to France.
The Indian form is said by Sharpe to differ from the typical in having fewer black streaks on the fore-neck and more defined black lines down the sides of the neck. I can see no difference between the two forms in these respects, the differences noted being entirely individual and not geographical. On the other hand, the underparts average darker, as stated, and there is generally more grey in the lanceolate feathers of the breast. There is no difference in the length of the bill as indicated by Sharpe's measurements. I retain this very poor subspecies with a good deal of hesitation.