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.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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