Indian Pond Heron

Pond Heron R2811

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Indian pond Heron or paddybird (Ardeola grayii) is a small heron. It is of Old World origins, breeding in southern Iran and east to Pakistan, India, Burma, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. They are widespread and common but can be easily missed when they stalk prey at the edge of small water-bodies or even when they roost close to human habitations. They are however distinctive when they take off with bright white wings flashing in contrast to the cryptic streaked olive and brown colors of the body. Their camouflage is so excellent that they can be approached closely before they take to flight, a behavior which has resulted in folk names and beliefs that the birds are short-sighted or blind. They appear stocky with a short neck, short thick bill and buff-brown back. In summer, adults have long neck feathers. Its appearance is transformed from their dull colors when they take to flight, when the white of the wings makes them very prominent. They are usually silent but may make a harsh croak in alarm when flushed or near their nests. They are very common in India, and are usually solitary foragers but numbers of them may sometimes feed in close proximity during the dry seasons when small wetlands have a high concentration of prey. They are semi-colonial breeders. They may also forage at garbage heaps. During dry seasons, they sometimes take to foraging on well watered lawns or even dry grassland. When foraging, they allow close approach and flush only at close range. They sometimes form communal roosts, often in avenue trees over busy urban areas.