Family Herons (Ardeidae)

Least Concern

Chinese Pond-heron (Ardeola bacchus)


French: Crabier chinois German: Bacchusreiher Spanish: Garcilla china

Buphus bacchus


, 1855,

Malay Peninsula


Closely related to A. ralloides, A. grayii and A. speciosa. Perhaps also close to A. idae. Monotypic.


Breeds from Russian Far East, NE & E China and Japan SW to NE India (Assam) and N Myanmar. Winters in Andaman Is, Malay Peninsula, Indochina, Borneo and Sumatra, and NE to Ryukyu Is.

Descriptive notes

c. 42–52 cm; 280–332 g; wingspan 75–90 cm. Much darker than breeding-plumaged Bubulcus ibis, but main confusion risk is with closely related A... read more


Vocalizations poorly documented, although usually considered to be rather silent in non-breeding... read more


Frequents paddyfields, swamps, ponds, riverbanks; also in mangroves and at tidal pools, mainly in... read more

Food and feeding

Small frogs, worms, aquatic invertebrates, fish, molluscs, worms, some terrestrial insects and even small birds. Little known about... read more


In India, May–Aug; in China, nest records from Apr–Jul; in Hunan (SC China), lays in early May. Colonial, normally forming... read more


Indian and N Indochinese birds considered sedentary, with some local movements, but former might in... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Global population estimated at 25,000–1,000,000 individuals. One of commonest herons in E China, with breeding densities of up... read more

Recommended citation

Martínez-Vilalta, A., Motis, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Chinese Pond-heron (Ardeola bacchus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 February 2020).