Family Herons (Ardeidae)

Least Concern

Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia)


French: Héron intermédiaire German: Asienmittelreiher Spanish: Garceta intermedia

Ardea intermedia


, 1829,



Frequently placed in genus Egretta or sometimes in Mesophoyx, but DNA analyses indicate closer genetic link with Ardea#R. Hitherto considered conspecific with A. brachyrhyncha and A. plumifera, but differs from both when breeding in having black vs yellow-and-pink bill (3), much yellower lores and facial area (2), and black vs reddish tops of legs (2). Monotypic.


Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka E through SC & SE China to S Korea and S Japan, and S through SE Asia to Greater Sundas. Winters S to Philippines, Malay Peninsula and Indonesia E apparently to Moluccas. Occurrence as breeder in N Sulawesi and as non-breeder in Moluccas and E Lesser Sundas requires clarification.

Descriptive notes

56–72 cm; 400–500 g; wingspan 105–115 cm. All-white plumage with cream or off-white tinge, slight crest but no head plumes. Well-developed back and breast... read more


Generally fairly silent and most vocalizations are rather quiet, but include a soft buzzing unique... read more


Very varied; mainly inland habitats with abundant emergent aquatic vegetation, including freshwater... read more

Food and feeding

Fish, normally less than 10 cm long, including eels, perch (Macquaria), gudgeons (Eleotridae); also frogs, snakes, insects,... read more


Season very variable regionally: in India, Jul–Sept in N, Nov–Feb in S; in Java, Feb–Jul in W, Dec–Feb in E.... read more


Mainly sedentary with some nomadic movements; extensive post-breeding dispersal. N populations of... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common in India, e.g. 1682 pairs at Bharatpur in 1983, and also in S China, Sumatra and Java; in Thailand, much less common... read more

Recommended citation

Martínez-Vilalta, A., Motis, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia). 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 27 February 2020).