Chinese Pond Heron (Ardeola bacchus)

Chinese Pond Heron

[order] CICONIIFORMES | [family] Ardeidae | [latin] Ardeola bacchus | [authority] Bonaparte, 1855 | [UK] Chinese Pond Heron | [FR] Crabier chinois | [DE] Bacchusreiher | [ES] Garcilla China | [NL] Chinese Poelreiger


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Ardeola bacchus OR e


Ardeola is a genus of small herons, typically 40?50 cm long with 80?100 cm wingspan. Most breed in the tropical Old World, but the migratory Squacco Heron occurs in southern Europe and the Middle East and winters in Africa. These pond herons are stocky species with a short neck, short thick bill, typically buff or brownish back, and coloured or streaked foreneck and breast. In summer, adults may have long neck feathers. Ardeola herons are transformed in flight, looking very white due to the brilliant white wings.

Physical charateristics

The Chinese Pond Heron is typically 47 cm long with white wings, a yellow bill with a black tip, yellow eyes and legs. Its overall colour is red, blue and white during breeding season, and greyish-brown and flecked with white at other times

Listen to the sound of Chinese Pond Heron

[audio: Pond Heron.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 75 cm wingspan max.: 90 cm
size min.: 42 cm size max.: 45 cm
incubation min.: 18 days incubation max.: 22 days
fledging min.: 28 days fledging max.: 32 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 6  


Oriental Region : East


Usually freshwater, especially paddyfields, also marshes, riverbanks and lakesides.


Breeding season varies with the range. This species nests in small colonies, sometimes with other heron’s species. Chinese Pond-heron’s nest is located fairly high in trees, or among the tall grasses in water. It is made with small twigs, and the interior may be lined with leaves and grasses. It lays 4 to 5 blue green eggs, often in mixed nests where other herons lay their eggs.
Incubation lasts about 18 to 22 days, by both parents. The young flegde after about a month. This species produces two broods per season.

Feeding habits

The diet includes insects, crustaceans and fish.

Video Chinese Pond Heron


copyright: Bob Thompson


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Chinese Pond Heron status Least Concern


Indian birds sedentary, with some local movements. N populations migratory: Chinese birds leave breeding grounds in Sept/Oct, returning in Mar/Apr; occurs in Malay Peninsula Sept- Apr, and in Borneo Sept-Feb. Occasional in Taiwan; vagrant to USSR and South Korea; single adult in Norway, autumn 1973.

Distribution map

Chinese Pond Heron distribution range map

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