Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii)

Indian Pond Heron

[order] CICONIIFORMES | [family] Ardeidae | [latin] Ardeola grayii | [authority] Sykes, 1832 | [UK] Indian Pond Heron | [FR] Crabier de Gray | [DE] Paddyreiher | [ES] Garcilla India | [NL] Indische Poelreiger


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Ardeola grayii EU, OR Persian Gulf to Burma, Maldive Islands


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

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 colours when they take to flight, when the white of the wings makes them very prominent. It is very similar to the Squacco Heron, Ardeola ralloides, but is darker-backed. To the east of its range, it is replaced by the Chinese Pond Heron, Ardeola bacchus.

Listen to the sound of Indian Pond Heron

[audio: Pond Heron.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 72 cm wingspan max.: 90 cm
size min.: 40 cm size max.: 45 cm
incubation min.: 22 days incubation max.: 25 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Eurasia, Oriental Region : Persian Gulf to Burma, Maldive Islands. The Indian pond-heron has a very large range, being found across most of the Indian subcontinent, including Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar and Nepal. It ranges from Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and the Maldives in the west, to Thailand and Vietnam in the east. The Indian pond-heron is also occasionally seen in the Seychelles, but has become extinct in Kuwait


This bird can be found in a wide variety of habitats including rivers, lakes, marshes, mangroves, streams and paddy fields. It is also found in highly urbanized and populated areas, for example Indian pond-heron nests have been found in urban areas as well. It prefers to live in lowlands but may also be found at higher altitudes, such as in the Nilgiri Hills in southern India which lie 2150 meter above sea level.


The breeding season of the Indian pond-heron typically takes place from May to September, but falls between November and February in southern India and Sri Lanka. It usually breeds in small groups of the same species, but may sometimes be found breeding in groups with other heron species and cormorants. Individuals usually return to the same breeding colonies year after year, where they nest in trees between 2 and 16 meter above ground. Clutch size is four eggs, which are incubated for a period of 24 days.

Feeding habits

The varied diet of the Indian pond-heron includes small fish, frogs, crabs, other crustaceans, aquatic insects, grasshoppers, crickets, ants, and baby turtles, and it may also consume substantial amounts of plant matter. It is a stealthy hunter, stalking its prey by walking slowly toward it or by standing still, awaiting the chance to ambush, and it has also been recorded capturing its prey when in flight. The Indian pond-heron feeds during both the day and night, either alone or in small loose flocks.

Video Indian Pond Heron


copyright: Eric Roualet


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 is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not 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.
Indian Pond Heron status Least Concern


Sedentary with some movement relaed to rain fall or lack of.

Distribution map

Indian Pond Heron distribution range map

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