Intermediate egret

   ›      ›   Intermediate egret - Ardea intermedia.

The intermediate egret (Ardea intermedia) belongs to the family, Ardeidae.

The intermediate egret is distributed in the Indian subcontinent, Africa, China, Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia and Australia.


  • Scientific Name: Ardea intermedia
  • Common Name: Intermediate egret
  • French: Héron intermédiaire; German: Asienmittelreiher; Spanish: Garceta intermedia;
  • Other names: median egret, smaller egret, yellow-billed egret, Egretta intermedia and Mesophoyx intermedia;
  • Family: Ardeidae › Pelecaniformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: Wagler, 1829
Earlier the intermediate egret was considered conspecific with A. brachyrhyncha and A. plumifera and placed as species Mesophoyx intermedia.

But breeding coloration of the bill as well as legs differs from these species. Hence it was given a separate species status and named Ardea intermedia (del Hoyo and Collar 2014).

Indian birds - Intermediate egret - Ardea intermedia
Indian birds - Intermediate egret - Ardea intermedia


The intermediate egrets are medium birds, measuring 55 to 70 cm in length and weighing 400 to 500 grams. The wingspan is 105 to 115 cm.

They have white plumage which may be a little creamish or off-white. The breeding intermediate egret species may have a reddish or black bill and greenish yellow gape skin.

Loose filamentous plumes are seen on their breast and back. A dull yellow or pink coloration is observed on their upper legs.


The intermediate egret species inhabit lowlands, sheltered flood-plains, seasonal wetlands, shallow mudflats with emergent grasses and reeds, shallow waters with aquatic vegetation, flooded marshes, ponds, lakes, saltwater and brackish deltas, tidal streams and mangrove swamps.

Feeding habits

The intermediate egret species feed on small fish, frogs, crustaceans, aquatic insects, terrestrial insects, small reptiles and small birds and mammals.


The breeding season various regionally. In North India, the season is between July and september and in South India, the breeding season is from November to February.

They nest on trees standing in water. The breeding platforms are constructed out of sticks and other available vegetation.


In the Indian Subcontinent the intermediate egret species are distributed in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

They also occur in central and east China, south Japan, Australia, Africa and southeast Asian countries. They winter in Malay Peninsula, Philippines and Indonesia.

Movement Patterns

These egret species are mainly sedentary. Post breeding dispersals take place. During winter southward movement may take place.

Status and conservation

Hunting, habitat degradation, reclamation of wetlands and introduced species of predators are the main threats to these egret species.

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

Biological classification of Ardea intermedia
Species:A. intermedia
Binomial name:Ardea intermedia
Distribution:Indian Subcontinent, Asia, Africa, Australia;
Feeding habits:small fish, frogs, reptiles, insects and crustaceans;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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