1568. Nycticorax griseus.
The Night Heron.
Ardea nycticorax & A. grisea, L. Syst. Nat. i, pp. 235, 239 (1766). Nycticorax griseus, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xv, p. 373; id. Cat. p. 281 ;. Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 758; Hume & Henders. Lah. to Yark. p. 296; Ball, S. F. ii, p. 435; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 24; Oates, S. F. v, p. 168; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 690; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 484; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 231; Cripps, ibid. p. 309; Hume, Cat. no. 937; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 361 ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1165; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 91; Butler, ibid. p. 435; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 99; Scully, ibid. p. 592; Reid, S. F. x, p. 76; Davidson, ibid. p. 324 ; Davison, ibid. p. 417 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 387; id. Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 149. Nyctiardea nycticorax, Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xii, pt. 2, p. 254; Hume, N. & E. p. 624; id. S. F. i, p. 256; ii, pp. 315, 483; iii, p. 192 ; Armstrong, S. F. iv, p. 350; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 259 ; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 258. Nycticorax nycticorax, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxvi, p. 146.
Wak, Kwak, Tar bagla, Kokrai, H.; Gadri, Sind; Kowa dauk, Batchka, Beng.; Chinta wakha, Tel. ; Sannari, Tam. (Ceylon); Rae kana koka, Cing.; Lin-wet, Burm.
Coloration. Crown and nape (the feathers of which are considerably lengthened), back, and scapulars black, glossed with metallic green ; a few narrow white feathers of great length from the nape; forehead, a streak over the eye, cheeks, chin, throat, fore neck, breast, and abdomen white; sides and back of neck, sides of body, wings, rump, and tail light ashy with a pinkish tinge, darkest on tertiaries.
Young birds are brown above, darkest on the crown, streaked with buff shaft-stripes, and with triangular buff tips to the back-feathers and wing-coverts ; lower plumage white streaked with brown, quills and tail-feathers ashy brown with white tips.
Bill black, yellowish at the base, lores and orbits yellowish green, irides blood-red, feet yellowish green (Jerdon) ; in the breeding-season the bill is black, eyelids and facial skin dull livid,, legs and toes pale rufous (Oates).
Length 23; tail 4; wing 11.5 ; tarsus 3 ; bill from gape 3.8.
Distribution. Central and Southern Europe and Asia, the whole of Africa, and the greater part of North America with the West Indies. The Night Heron is found throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma, locally distributed in the better-watered tracts.
Habits, &c. This Heron passes the day in large trees such as mangoes or tamarinds, or in palms, considerable numbers often associating together. After sunset they fly off to feed on fish, frogs, &c. Their flight is heavy, and they often, when flying, utter a characteristic cry, something like qwal; from this call one name by which they are widely known in India is taken. These Herons breed, often in company with other species of Herons, Egrets, &c, in trees, especially those standing in swamps, or sometimes in high reeds or grass ; they make the usual stick nests, and lay four or five pale sea-green eggs that measure about T92 by 1.35. The usual breeding-season in India and Burma is July and August, but in Kashmir it is earlier, April and May, and in Ceylon earlier still, about March.