1556. Ardea sumatrana.
The Dusky-grey Heron.
Ardea sumatrana, Raffles, Tr. Linn. Soc. xiii, p. 325 (1822); Blyth Cat. p. 278; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 740, pt.; Blyth, Ibis, 1865, p. 36 ; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 159 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 469; Hume, Cat. no. 922 bis; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 244: Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxvi, p. 68. Ardea fusca, Blyth, A. M. N. H. xiii, p. 176 (1844).
Coloration. Crown and upper surface, with quills and tail-feathers, dark slaty; long occipital crest-feathers, sometimes 9 inches in length, and lanceolate tips of scapulars pearly white, as are also the greatly lengthened and acuminate feathers at base of neck all round, longest on the fore neck and upper breast; chin and fore part of cheeks white ; sides of head and neck all round ruddy brownish grey, becoming vinaceous on throat and darker on hind neck ; lower parts slaty grey, with a lilac tinge and some white shaft-stripes.
Young birds have no elongate plumes, and are browner, the feathers of the upper surface have rufous tips, and the lower surface is rufescent grey, streaked with whitish.
Bill black, the lower mandible yellowish white at the base ; irides pale orange; legs and feet black, soles faded yellow (H. O. Forbes).
Length 50; tail 6.5; wing 18.5; tarsus 6.7; bill from gape 7.5.
Distribution. Arrakan, Southern Tenasserim, the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago, and Australia. A specimen in the British Museum is said to be from N. E. Bengal, but is more probably from Arrakan. This species was once supposed to inhabit Sind, but no importance can now be attached to the evidence upon which its occurrence in that province was inferred.
Habits, &c. This large Heron is said to be confined in Tenasserim to the sea-coast and the mouths of rivers and estuaries. It is found singly, feeding on small fish, crabs, &c, which it finds on the mud-flats at low tide, and perching on the mangroves when the water is high.