1565. Ardeola grayi.
The Pond Heron.
Ardea grayii, Sykes, P. Z. S. 1832, p. 153 ; Gray in Hardw. Ill. Ind. Zool. ii, pl. 48. Ardeola leucoptera, apud Blyth, Cat. p. 281; id. Ibis, 1865, p. 38 ; 1867, p. 172; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 751; nec Bodd. Ardeola grayi, Hume, N. & E. p. 619 ; id. S. F. i, p. 256; Adam, ibid. p. 399 ; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 309 ; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 23; Arm-strong, ibid. p. 350; Hume, ibid. p. 467; Hume Dav. S. F. vi, p. 481 ; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 39; Ball, ibid. p. 230; Cripps, ibid. p. 308; Hume, Cat. no. 930; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 361; Doig, ibid. p. 372; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1150 ; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 90 ; Butler, ibid. p. 434; Barnes, ibid. p. 460 ; Reid, S. F. x, p. 76 ; Davison, ibid. p. 416; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 252 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 381; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 334; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 248; Barnes, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. i, p. 60; vi, p. 146; Munn, Ibis, 1894, p. 69; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxvi, p. 207.
Bagla, Andha-bagla, Chama-bagla, Kani-bagla, H. ; Khonch-bogla, H. & B.; Ral-puchuke, Gond; Kokku, Tam.; Gudi konga, Tel.; Kana koka, Cing.; Hbyein-ouk, Burin.
Coloration. In the breeding-season the head and neck are light yellowish brown, the crown browner; chin and throat white; long pointed lanceolate feathers, forming an occipital crest, also white; feathers of upper breast long, somewhat disintegrated, ashy brown, with narrow whitish streaks; back and inner scapulars very long, decomposed, deep maroon, blackish or dark slaty towards the ends ; outer scapulars brownish buff; remainder of body, wings, and tail white, tips of first primaries tinged brownish.
In non-breeding dress the head and neck are dark brown, streaked with pale yellowish buff, crown darker; fore neck paler, .and with the buff predominating ; chin and throat white ; upper breast white, streaked with brown ; back, scapulars, and tertiaries ashy brown, with pale yellowish shaft-stripes on the scapulars; rest of plumage white.
Bill blue at the base, yellowish in the middle and edges, and black at the tip; orbits greenish yellow; irides bright yellow ; legs and feet dull green (Jerdon).
Length 18 ; tail 3 ; wing 8; tarsus 2.25 ; bill from gape 3.
Distribution. Throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma, extending west to the Persian Gulf and south-east to the Malay Peninsula. Also found in the Andaman, Nicobar, and Laccadive Islands.
Habits, &c. A common and familiar bird, often found about paddy-fields, ditches, village tanks, and similar places, not easily seen when sitting, and making a startling display of its white wings, body, and tail when it flies up, often close by the intruder, with a guttural croak. The native names in several languages mean Blind Heron. It feeds chiefly on frogs and crabs, occa¬sionally on fish, insects, &c, and is highly esteemed as food by many of the inhabitants of India. It breeds in different parts of the country from May to September, but in the Carnatic about December, makes a stick nest on a tree, several pairs often nesting in company, and lays from four to six greenish-blue eggsT measuring, on an average, 1.48 by 1.17.