1567. Butorides javanica.
The Little Green Heron.
Ardea javanica, Horsf. Tr. Linn. Soc. xiii, p. 190 (1821); Sykes, P. Z. S. 1832, p. 158. Egretta chloriceps vel virescens, Hodgs. in Grays Zool. Misc. p. 86 (1844), descr. nulla. Butorides javanica, Blyth, Cat. p. 281 ; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 752; Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 173; Godio.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix. pt. 2, p. 274; xiv, pt. 2, p. 85; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 254 ; Ball, ibid. p. 290 ; id. S. F. i, p. 88 ; Hume, N. & E. p. 620; id. S. F. i, p. 256; Adam, ibid. p. 399 ; Walden, Ibis, 1873, p. 321; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 310; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 24; F'airbank, ibid. p. 263; Bourdillon, ibid. p. 405; Hume, ibid. p. 467; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 689; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 483 ; Butler, S. F. vii, pp. 189, 191; Ball, ibid. p. 230; Cripps, ibid. p. 308 ; Hume, Cat. no. 931; id. S. F. viii, p. 410; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1153 ; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 90 ; Butler, ibid. p. 434 ; Davidson, S. F. x, p. 324; Davison, ibid. p. 416; Reid, ibid. p. 453; Oates, B. B. u, p. 254 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 382 ; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 334; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 249 ; Barnes, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 146; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxvi, p. 177. Butorides spodiogaster (subsp.), Sharpe, Bull. B. O. C. iii, p. xvii (1894) ; id. Cat. B. M. xxvi, p. 182, pl. ii.
Kancha bagla, H.; Kana bogla, Beng.; Ung Fa-o nang, Lepcha; Dosi honga, Tel.; Doshi koku, Tam.
Coloration. Forehead, crown down to the eyes, and long occipital crest black glossed with dark green; a short black line running back from the lower part of the orbit, area between this and the black cap whitish ; chin, throat, and a streak bordering the lower mandible white ; rest of head and neck ashy grey except a broken white band more or less streaked with brown down the fore neck ; scapulars and interscapulars glossy bronze-green, the long ends of the feathers ashy grey with whitish shafts ; rump dark grey washed with green ; wing-coverts dark glossy green, narrowly margined on the outer side with pale buff; quills black, more or less glossed with green, and with traces of whitish edges and tips ; upper tail-coverts and tail black with a green gloss, lower parts ashy grey. Hume points out that very old birds lose the white band on the fore neck, the whitish patch behind the eye, and the buff margins to the wing-coverts, whilst the lower parts are reddish, abdomen chocolate-brown.
Young birds have the crown dark brown or black with some whitish shaft-stripes; upper parts, wings, and tail brown, the feathers with triangular buff terminal spots; lower parts white, streaked with brown.
Bill black above, greenish yellow below; facial skin green; irides yellow; legs and toes green, front of tarsus and toes dusky, soles orange (Oates).
Length about 18; tail 2.5; wing 7; tarsus 1.9; bill from gape 3.
Distribution. Throughout the greater part of the Oriental Region, with the Mascarene Islands. This bird occurs in most parts of India, Ceylon, and Burma, except in dry or treeless regions and the higher Himalayas.
The race inhabiting the Andamans and Nicobars is distinguished as a subspecies by Sharpe under the name of B. spodiogaster, on account of its darker grey Coloration, especially on the under surface.
Habits, &c. During the daytime this little Heron conceals itself in bushes and trees by the side of wooded streams, rivers, and canals, or in mangroves on the banks of creeks, and issues at dusk to look for crabs, frogs, small fish, &c. It is less nocturnal than the Bitterns, and may occasionally be seen fishing in the daytime in shady places. It is resident, and breeds in most parts of India between May and August, laying from three to five pale sea-green eggs in a small stick nest on a tree. The eggs measure about 1.62 by 1.21.