797. SQUACCO HERON.
Ardea ralloides, Scop., Ann. i. Hist. Nat. p. 88 (1769) ; Dresser, vi. p. 251, pl. 400, fig. 2 ; (Sharpe), Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxvi. p. 202 ; Saunders, p. 377 ; Lilford, vii. p. 25, pl. 9 ; A. comata, Pall. Reise Russ. Reichs, ii. Anhang, p. 715 (1773) ; Naum., ix. p. 120, Taf. 224 ; Gould, B. of E. iv. pl. 275 ; id., B. of Gt. Brit. iv. pl. 25.
Heron Crabier, French ; Papa-ratos, Portug. ; Garza cangrejera, Span. ; Sgarza-ciuffeto, Ital. ; Rallenreiher, Schopfreiher, German ; Rareiger, Dutch ; Kosmataya-zapla, Russ. ; Sabisa, Arab. ; Aishus, Moor.
Male ad. (Spain). Crown, nape, sides of the head and elongated nuchal plumes creamy white margined with Mack ; dorsal plumes elongated, filamentous, coppery ochreous on the basal, and creamy buff on the terminal portion ; wings, tail, chin, and upper throat white ; lower throat and breast creamy yellow, the feathers elongated and filamentous ; rest of under parts white ; bare space round the eye greenish ; bill pale lead at the base, blackish towards the point ; iris rich yellow ; legs greenish yellow. Culmen 2.62. wing 8.6, tail 3.5, tarsus 2.5 inch. The female has the nuchal plumes shorter, and is somewhat smaller. In the winter the nuchal and dorsal plumes are much less developed. The young bird has the nuchal feathers shorter and yellower, the dorsal feathers darker and coppery brown, the wings marked with yellowish buff, the lower throat striped with blackish, the bill greenish yellow, brown along the ridge ; iris whitish yellow ; legs yellowish green.
Hab. Southern Europe, east to the Caspian, straying rarely to central and northern continental Europe and Great Britain ; Africa south to the Transvaal.
In its habits it somewhat reminds one of the Bitterns. It affects damp swampy localities, but is said to be met with in localities frequented by herds of domestic swine. Its note is a harsh charr but not loud, and as a rule it is a somewhat silent bird. It feeds on fish, frogs, aquatic insects, worms, and small shell-fish. It breeds in marshy places, nest¬ing on the ground amongst the aquatic herbage or on bushes, and in May or June deposits 4 or 5 eggs, in colour greenish blue like those of A. purpurea, but measuring only about 1.55 by 1.19.
797. Ardea ralloides
797. SQUACCO HERON.