Family Herons (Ardeidae)

Least Concern

Indian Pond-heron (Ardeola grayii)


French: Crabier de Gray German: Paddyreiher Spanish: Garcilla india

Ardea Grayii


, 1832,

Deccan, India


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


N Persian Gulf E through Indian Subcontinent (including Sri Lanka) to Myanmar; also Laccadives and Maldives, Andamans and Nicobars. Winters S to NW Malay Peninsula.

Descriptive notes

39–46 cm; 230–276 g; wingspan 75–90 cm. Sexes alike. Legs and feet greenish, bill yellow-horn with extensive black tip, lores green and eyes yellow. Most... read more


Vocalizations poorly described, but reported to call frequently when disturbed or at communal... read more


Very varied, including rivers, streams, lakes, marshes, paddyfields, reservoirs, tidal mudflats,... read more

Food and feeding

Small fish (including Barilius, Nemacheilus and Ophiocephalus), frogs (Rana), tadpoles, crabs (... read more


Season May–Sept in N India, generally Dec–May in S India and Sri Lanka (although peak breeding in Jun in one colony in Kerala... read more


Principally sedentary, with some local movements connected with flooding and droughts, and perhaps... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Abundant throughout India, where is one of most familiar waterbirds and has adapted well to human-modified habitats, even nesting in... read more

Recommended citation

Martínez-Vilalta, A., Motis, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Indian Pond-heron (Ardeola grayii). 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 28 February 2020).