Ardeidae


A large, cosmopolitan family, typically associated with wetlands. Arguably the best known group of birds in southeast Asia due to affinity for paddyfields. Most egrets and many herons breed in large colonies, nests being placed on top of tall trees in inland swamp forests or occasionally around farms in rural areas . During the breeding season most of the egrets develop long, fine plumes on the head, neck and/or back, while the bill and bare parts (facial skin, legs) change colour. The breeding plumage of Pond-herons, however, is completely different to that of non-breeding birds.

The long straight and pointed bills of herons are used for spearing fishfrogs and aquatic invertebrates as they walk slowly around the edges or wade in the shallows of lakes, rivers and paddies. Long slender necks and legs are the main features of these birds, and in flight, their necks are folded back into the shape of an “S”, while the outstretched legs trail well beyond the tail in many species.

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