1564. Lepterodius sacer.
The Eastern Reef-Heron.
Ardea sacra, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i, p. 640 (1788); Hume, N. & E. p. 618. Ardea jugularis, Forst., Wagler, Syst. Av. Ardea, no. 18 (1827); Pelzeln, No vara Reise, Vog. p. 118. Herodias jugularis, Blyth, Cat. p. 280. Demigretta concolor, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xv, p. 372 (1846); Ball, J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 243. ? Herodias eulophotes, Swinhoe, Ibis, 1860, p. 64; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 159. Herodias andamanensis, Tytler, Beavan, Ibis, 1867, p. 333. Herodias concolor, Blyth, Ibis, 1868, p. 133; Ball, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 289 ; id. S. F. i, p. 87 ; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 160. Demiegretta sacra, Walden, Ibis, 1873, p. 318 ; Hume, 8. F. ii, p. 304; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 481; Hume, Cat. no. 928 bis; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 250; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 246; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxvi, p. 137. Demiegretta greyi, Hume, S. F. i, p. 307 (1873).
Coloration, as a rule, dark slaty grey, less blue than in L. asha, with a white streak down the middle of the chin and throat; this streak is not uncommonly represented by a few white feathers or wanting altogether. There is a broad full nuchal crest, about an inch long, of ordinary feathers; a dorsal train of lanceolate feathers, slightly disintegrated, extending nearly to the end of the tail, and lanceolate pectoral plumes.
As in L. asha, some birds of all ages are white throughout, the adults with crests and pectoral plumes, and with the feathers of the dorsal train sometimes extending beyond the tail. Nestlings vary, being white, grey, or pied.
Soft parts very variable. Bill brown, yellowish on lower mandible, sometimes, in white individuals, yellow throughout; irides yellow; legs and feet dark green, varying to paler green or to black.
Length about 22; tail 3.7; wing 10.75 (9.62-11.75); tarsus 2.9 ; bill from gape 3.8.
Distribution. The whole Burmese coast, the reefs and shores of the Andamans and Nicobars, the coasts of the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago to China and Japan in one direction, and to Australia and the islands of the Pacific in another.
Habits, &c. Very similar to those of L. asha. Eggs taken in Arrakan and the Andaman Islands from April to June do not exceed three in number in each nest; they are pale sea-green in colour, and measure about 1.7 by 1.3. The nests were, as usual, of sticks.