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Indian Pond Heron: 17 Facts You Won't Believe!

Indian pond heron facts explore the bird's origins, breast, tail, nests, and other features.

The Indian pond heron (Ardeola grayii) is predominantly found in different parts of the Indian subcontinent and is known for its bright white wings. You can spot these birds in places like India, Iran, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and the Malay Peninsula. Indian pond heron feathers are mostly brown, helping the bird to camouflage in its natural habitat. So, when these birds are perched on trees, you'll have a hard time spotting them. Like many other Old World herons, the bird belongs to the genus Ardeola. If you happen to be in southern India, you can spot these birds wading through agricultural fields, and they can also be seen in a variety of other habitats. There is still a lot to learn about this species, but the good news is that its population is thriving.

Keep reading to learn more interesting Indian pond heron facts. For more bird-related content, check out these glossy ibis facts and sarus crane facts for kids.

Indian Pond Heron Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Indian pond heron?

The Indian pond heron (Ardeola grayii) is a species of small heron that is predominantly found in India. This Old World heron is also called the paddybird as it's found in paddy fields.

What class of animal does an Indian pond heron belong to?

The Indian pond heron (Ardeola grayii) belongs to the class Aves, the family Ardeidae, and the genus Ardeola. The yellow-crowned night heron also belongs to the same family as the Indian pond heron.

How many Indian pond herons are there in the world?

As a widespread species, it's quite hard to put an exact number on the population of Indian pond herons present in the world.

Where does an Indian pond heron live?

This bird may be called the Indian pond heron (Ardeola grayii), but don't let its name fool you. The bird is widespread from the Persian Gulf to the Malay Peninsula. The Indian pond heron range map includes places such as India, Iran, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives, to name a few. However, the full extent of its range is still unknown.

What is an Indian pond heron's habitat?

When it comes to choosing a place to live, Indian pond herons have a wide variety of habitats. If you happen to visit India, you can often find these small herons feeding in agricultural fields. Common habitat choices of the Indian pond heron include rivers, streams, lakes, paddy fields, marshes, tidal mudflats, mangroves, and irrigated pastures. Interestingly, these birds have also made it to towns and cities where they prefer to stay in a well-manicured habitat. These birds mainly choose a lowland habitat, but in India, they have been spotted in the Nilgiris at the height of 7053 ft (2149.7 m). When it comes to feeding, these birds prefer shallow, slow-moving water bodies and streams.

Who do Indian pond herons live with?

Indian pond herons are solitary birds, so you won't see a bird of this species with its peers unless it's during the breeding period.

How long does an Indian pond heron live?

The exact lifespan of this species is unknown, but like the other heron species, it might have an average lifespan of 15 years when living in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of this species can change based on the bird's region. In North India, the breeding period lasts from May to September, while in southern India and Sri Lanka, the range is between December to May. In Pakistan, the range has been observed to be between April-September. During the breeding season, these birds form monogamous bonds and nest in a colony. The nests can be made in different areas, including the forks of trees or shrubs, as well as on trees like willows, bamboo, or eucalyptus. These birds usually use twigs as the base material for building the nest. The female usually lays approximately four dark blue/olive green Indian pond heron eggs, and both parents incubate these eggs for around 24 days. The chicks mainly feed on fish provided by the parents.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the Indian pond heron is currently placed under the classification status of Least Concern.

Indian Pond Heron Fun Facts

What do Indian pond herons look like?

At first glance, the Indian pond heron (Ardeola grayii) may not be overly impressive as it has brown and white feathers, which are quite common. However, when you see Indian pond heron images or one in real life, you need to take a closer look at it to appreciate its beauty.

This bird is described as a stocky species as it has a short neck, and it is, in fact, smaller than some of the other herons that you may find. The plumage of this bird has different shades of brown that change depending on the breeding season. During the non-breeding season, the plumage is dull, and its body usually has a streaked look. The birds look predominantly white due to the underside of their wings and tails being mostly white. The Indian pond heron's bill is usually yellow with a black tip, the lores are green and the eyes are yellow. An olive greenish hue is also seen in its legs.

As the breeding period begins, you can see a change in the plumage. There is an emergence of white wings with dark and pale brown streaks on the tail. The true beauty of its wings can be seen when the bird is in flight. During the breeding season, most adult herons will have red legs, however, some seem to retain their greenish legs. The bird develops bright white plume feathers, which are only seen during the breeding season. Juvenile herons look similar to the non-breeding adults, with similar feathers on the head and breast regions but with short neck feathers.

Indian pond heron facts are interesting for kids and adults.

How cute are they?

These herons are quite adorable, even with their streaked body.

How do they communicate?

The call of this bird species is still cryptic as very little is known about it. However, it's said that these herons produce a human-like 'wa-koo' sound while in colonies. A'kek-kek-kek' sound has also been reported.

How big is an Indian pond heron?

The average size of this bird is around 15.7-18.1 in (40-46 cm). The gray heron has a size of around 33.1-40.1 in (84-102 cm), so it is much larger than this small heron species.

How fast can an Indian pond heron fly?

The exact flying speed range of these birds is not known, however, the great blue herons are said to have a speed of 20-30 mph (32.2-48.3 kph). The average wingspan of the Indian pond heron is said to be 29.5-35.4 in (75-90 cm).

How much does an Indian pond heron weigh?

The average weight range of these birds is around 8.1-9.7 oz (230–276 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

An Indian pond heron female is called a hen, while the Indian pond heron male is called a boar.

What would you call a baby Indian pond heron?

An Indian pond heron baby is called a chick.

What do they eat?

The diet of these birds depends a lot on their geographical location. However, the most common things found in their diet include small fish, frogs, crabs, tadpoles, crustaceans, aquatic insects, earthworms, dragonflies and their larvae, bees, ants, and crickets. Birds that belong to Sundarbans also feed on quite a bit of plant matter. Foraging is usually done by standing and slowly moving forwards, but it can also dive or jump to catch its prey. Even though these herons are mostly solitary hunters, at times, they will also gather in small flocks for foraging. Mixed flocks with cormorants are also observed from time to time.

Are they poisonous?

No, these birds aren't poisonous, and the species is not dangerous to human beings.

Would they make a good pet?

Even though it's quite tempting to take an Indian pond heron as your pet, we don't suggest you do so.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Apart from the Indian pond heron, the genus Ardeola has other popular species including the Chinese pond heron (Ardeola bacchus) and squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides). The Chinese pond heron and the squacco heron are closely related.

The name Indian pond heron can describe the species living close to ponds or other water bodies.

Are Indian pond herons endangered?

No, this isn't an endangered bird species of the world, and it has been classified under the status of Least Concern.

Is the Indian pond heron a migratory bird?

No, this species is not a migratory bird, but local movements have been noticed for populations in some areas, similar to what is seen in gray herons.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! If you want to learn more about other birds, explore our green heron fun facts and reddish egret fun facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Chinese pond heron coloring pages.

The second image is by Amara Bharathy.

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