Indian pond heron

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The Indian pond heron (Ardeola grayii) belongs to the family Ardeidae.

The Indian pond heron is distributed in the Persian Gulf, Indian Subcontinent, Myanmar, Laccadives, Maldives, Andamans and Nicobars Islands. These bird species winter in Malay Peninsula.


  • Scientific Name: Ardeola grayii
  • Common Name: Indian pond heron
  • French: Crabier de Gray; German: Paddyreiher; Spanish: Garcilla india;
  • Other names: paddybird, Ardeola leucoptera
  • Family: Ardeidae › Pelecaniformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Sykes, 1832)
The Indian pond heron is closely related to A. idae (Madagascar), A. ralloides (squacco), A. bacchus (Chinese) and A. speciosa (Javan).


The Indian pond heron is a small bird, measuring 40 to 45 cm in length and weighing 230 to 275 grams. The wingspan is 75 to 90 cm.

The male and female birds look alike. These heron species are stocky, with short neck. Non breeding individuals have white plumage streaked olive and brown.

The legs and feet are greenish. The bill is greenish with black tip. The eyes are yellow. The breeding plumage is dark brown patches on white. The legs of some breeding individuals may turn bright red.
Indian birds - Indian pond heron - Ardeola grayii
Indian birds - Indian pond heron - Ardeola grayii


They inhabit ponds, pools, marshes, rivers, streams, tidal flats, flooded grasslands, paddy fields, canals and ditches.

Feeding habits

They feed on fish, frogs, crustaceans, insects and small reptiles. They usually feed from the edge of the pond. They may use floating plants to perch themselves for catching prey.


The Indian pond heron breed before the onset of monsoon. They nest in colonies on large trees. The male bird collects the nesting material and the female constructs the nest. Three to five eggs are laid. Both the parents take turn to feed the young.


The Indian pond heron has a large range and in the Indian Subcontinent, it is found in Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

In the Persian Gulf, it is found in Iran, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. It is found in Indian Islands. It also occurs in Maldives, Seychelles, Malay Peninsula, Thailand and Vietnam.

Movement Patterns

The Indian pond heron species are principally sedentary. They may disperse locally in search of feeding grounds.

Status and conservation

They are not globally threatened. They are abundant throughout the Indian Subcontinent. They have adapted well to human-modified habitats.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these heron species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Ardeola grayii
Species:A. grayii
Binomial name:Ardeola grayii
Distribution:Iran, Indian Subcontinent, Myanmar;
Feeding habits:fish, frog, insects;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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Author: Koshy Koshy | License: CC BY 2.0
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