1560. Herodias intermedia.
The Smaller Egret.
Ardea intermedia, Wagler, Isis, 1829, p. 659; Hume, N. & E. p. 615. Ardea egrettoides, apud Temm. Man. d'Orn. ed. 2, iv, p. 374 (1840), nec Gmel. Herodias intermedia, Blyth, Cat. p. 279 ; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xii, pt. 2, p. 254 : Hume, S. F. i, p.253 ; Adam, ibid. p. 399 ; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 303; Walden, Ibis, 1874, p. 148 ; Hume, S. F. iv, p. 23 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 476 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 230; Hume, Cat. no. 926; Doig, S. F. viii, p. 372; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1141; Butler, S. F. ix, p. 433; Reid, S. F. x, p. 75; Davidson, ibid. p. 823; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 247 : id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii. p. 240; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 379 ; id. Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 144 ; Hume Cripps, S. F. xi, p. 333. Herodias egrettoides, Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 745 ; Ball, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 289; id. S. F. i, p. 87; Fairbank, S. F. iv, p. 263. Mesophoyx intermedia, Sharpe, Bull. B. O. C. iii, p. xxxviii (1894); id. Cat. B. M. xxvi, p. 85.
Patangkha or Batokha bat/la, Karchia-bagla, H. ; Puru-wallai-koku, Tam. (Ceylon).
Coloration. Pure white. In the breeding-season a long dorsal train is developed, reaching nearly to the ground and sometimes 17 inches long; pectoral plumes, also decomposed, are well developed, but no crest.
Bill in breeding-season black, facial skin green, iris yellow, legs and toes black (Oates) ; tibia yellowish brown (Legge). Out of the breeding-season, the bill is yellow with the tip dusky, orbital skin greenish yellow.
Length about 26 ; tail 5; wing 12; tarsus 4.5 ; bill from gape 3.75.
Distribution. Throughout India, Ceylon, and Northern Burma, somewhat unevenly distributed; not recorded from Tenasserim, though found in the Andaman Islands, Malay Peninsula and Islands to Java and the Philippines, and in China and Japan. Allied races occur in Africa and Australia.
Habits, &c. This Egret breeds in Northern India in July and August, but in Ceylon about December. The nests are closely packed together and are often on trees in towns. The eggs are pale bluish green, four in number, and measure about 1.9 by 1.44.