This genus is very much like Herodias, and is distinguished by having the dorsal train comparatively short, composed of lanceolate feathers, not of plumes with the barbs widely separate, by the pectoral plumes also being lanceolate, by these ornamental feathers not being assumed at the breeding-season only, but being found on adults throughout the year, by the nude portion of the tibia being less than half its length, and by Coloration. As a rule, the species of this genus are of a nearly uniform dark grey or slaty tint, with the remarkable peculiarity that certain individuals are pure white at all times. The difference does not always, as was formerly supposed, depend on age, for many white birds are clearly adults ; but some young white birds of L. asha, kept by Mr. Cumming in the Persian Gulf, changed to grey between the fifth and eighth month.
The members of this genus, three in number, of which two occur within Indian limits, inhabit the sea-coasts of Africa, Southern Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.
Key to the Species.
a. Naked tibia longer than inner toe without claw; whole chin and throat white in dark birds; crest of two very long feathers ……………………L. asha, p. 390.
b6. Naked tibia shorter than inner toe ; a white streak in middle of chin and throat or none; crest a short tuft……………………L. sacer, p. 391.
The members of this genus haunt the sea-coast and the mouths of rivers, and rarely occur elsewhere. They may commonly be seen solitary on reefs of rock or coral at low tide, or on sand or mud, and they feed on the fish, Crustacea, and mollusca there occurring in abundance.