LITTLE BITTERN: Ixobrychus minutus RM Village hen: In flight white shoulder patch contrasting with black wings diognastic of male. Female chestnut brown. Marshes with dense reed-beds. Pakistan, N. India, Nepal and east of Assam. Kashmir up to 1800m. Maharashtra .
Local Name: Goi (Kashmiri).
Size: Indian Pond Heron
Field characters : Identified in flight by the whitish shoulder patch contrasting with the black wings. Male black above with grey to whitish patch on closed wing, masking black flight feathers at rest. Sides of head and neck grayish pink. Below white to buff, with ochre on upper breast and blakish maroon lower breast. In females the black is replaced by chestnut brown; shoulder patch, chestnut brown.
Distribution : Resident in North and East India. Also Pakistan (sind), Nepal , and North Bangladesh .
Habits: Usually single. Crepuscular and addicted to reed beds. Freezes when startled, becoming invisible among the reeds. Call: A frog like wuk.
Food : Fish ,moluscs , etc.
Nesting : season—May to July.
Nest—a pad of rushes in a dence reed bed.
Eggs—4 to 6or7, white with often a bluish tinge. Both sexes share domestic duties.
MALAYAN NIGHT HERON : Gorsachius melanophus RM Village hen+: 51 cm. Ashy black crown and crest. Back chestnut-cinnamon bared with black. Marshes and streams in tropical evergreen forest. Subcontinent. Sri Lanka, Nicobar Is.
Local Names: Raj bog- Assames; Thavittu kokku-Malayalam.
Size : Indian Pond Heron.
Field Characters: Crown and nuchal crest ashy black. Back chestnut-cinnamon closely barred with black. Primaries and secondaries with white tips. Tail black. Underparts largely white, streaked, blotched or spotted with black. Rufous on lower breast and abdomen.
Distribution Resident in the heavy rainfall areas of the western Ghats Eastern India . N. Bangladesh . Winters in Sri Lanka. Race minor in Nicobar Islands.
Habits:A large nocturnal, shy inhabitant of steams and marshes in thick forest.
Call: Usually silent ; incubating birds hiss and croak.
Food : fish, frogs, etc.
Nesting : season—May to June in eastern India; May to August in SW India.
Nest—an untidy platform of sticks lined with reeds on trees overhanging streams.
Eggs—3to5bluish white. Breeding details. Unknown.
CHESTNUT BITTERN : Ixobrychus cinnamoneus RM Village hen : 38cm. Chestnut cinnamon above . Chin and throat whitish with a dark median stripe down foreneck . Reed-beds, flooded paddyfields, etc. Rarely coastal backwaters. Subcontinent, Andamans, Nicobars, Sri Lanka Maldives.
Local Names: Lal bagla-Hindi; Khyri bak or lal bak –Bengal; Metti kokka- Sinhala; kuruttu kokku-Tamil; Sandhya kokku- Malayalam.
Size: Indian pond heron:
Field Characters: An unmistakable cousine of the Indian pond heron. Upperparts chestnut cinnamon; chin and throat whitish with a dark median stripe down foreneck. Upper breast chestnut and black ; rest of underparts pale chestnut. Female duller with brown streaked rufous-buff underparts. Solitary, in and about reedy marshes, etc.
Distribution : The greater part of the Indian Union; Bangladesh Pakistan Sri Lanka; Myanmar. Resident and locally migratory.
Habits: Very similar to those of the Little green heron. When surprised on its nest or concerned , it assumes the characterstic attitude of its tribe, aptly termed the ‘On Guard’. The neck is stretched perpendicularly, bill pointing skyward, while the bird ‘freezes’ becoming astonishingly obliterated amongst its reddy environment.
Nesting : season: July to September.
Nest—a small twig platform among reeds in a swamp, or in bushes at the edge of a monsoon-filled pond.
Eggs—4 or 5, white.
YELLOW BITTERN : Ixobrychus sinesis RM Village hen-+: 38cm. Yellowish fawn body contrasting with black wings in flight diagnostic. Reed-beds, standing paddy, swamps etc, Subcontinent, Andamans, Nicobars, Sri Lanka.
Local Names: Jun Bagla- Hindi; Kat bak- Bengali; Manal narai- Tamil; Manjakokku- Malayalam.
Size: Indian Pond heron:
Field Characters: Yellowish fawn body contrasting with black wings in flight, distinctive. General color yellow, brown rufous and chestnut.
Distribution: Resident throughout India.
Habits : Affects reed beds, Inland swamos, coastal mangroves, estuaries, etc. Largely crepuscular but active during the day in cloudy overcast weather.When startled , freezes in typical bittern posture merging in to the reed background.
Food: Fish Frogs and mollusks.
Nesting : season---June to September.
Nest – a pad of reed flags on reeds or shrubbery near a pond.
Eggs—4 to, 6, blue or greenish blue. Both sexes share parental duties.
BLACK BITTERN : Dupetor flavicollis RM Village hen :- 58cm. Black and rufous with a conspicuous buff and white cheek patch and ochre yellow bands on sides of neck. Reddy marshes. Subcontinent up to 1200m and Sri Lanka. Maldives (winter). Absent in Andaman and Nicobar Is.
Local Names: Kala Bagla-Hindi; Kalo Bak- Bengali; Ay jan-Assamese; karuppu narai-Tamil ;Karutha Kokku- Malayalam.
Size Indian pond Heron: Field characters: Largely black and rufous with a conspicuous buff and white cheek patch and a bright ochre-yellow band on either side of neck. Female brownish rather than slate .
Distribution: Resident thinly and patchily distributed throughout the better watered parts of the subcontinent; Nepal Sri Lanka local migrant. An individual bearing a Malayan ring was picked up dead in Manipur
Habits: Solitary largely crepuscular , and nocturnal. Affects reedy inland swamps and overgrown seepage nullas in jungles.
Call: Produces a booming call in the breeding season. Freezes when
Startled. Food: Fish , frogs, insects, etc.
Nesting : season—June to September.
Nest— a pad of twig or weeds in reeds in swamps, cane brakes, bamboo clumps.
Eggs— 4, blue or green ringed white . Both sexes share parental duties.
GREAT BITTERN : Botaurus stellaris M-village hen+: 71cm. Tawny buff, barred or mottled with black. Swampy reed-beds. Subcontinent, Sri Lanka.
Local Name : BaZ (Hindi).
Size : Indian Pond Heron:
Field Characters: Tawny buff, barred or mottled with blackish. Bill short, stout and pointed. Stance hunchbacked as in the Indian Pond Heron.
Distribution: Winter visitor to North and NE. India; Pakistan, Bangladesh. Straggler to the south up to Sri Lanka.
Habits : Occurs in dense reed beds and other marshland vegetation in inland jheels and swamps. Solitary, crepuscular, freezes when alarmed.
Food: Fish, frogs, etc. Nesting: Breeds in the temperate Palaearactic from Great Britain to Japan. Booming call heard during breeding season. Possibly breeds in Kashmir.
Nest – similar to other bitterns’.
Eggs—4 to 6, light olive brown.