Birds of Morni: Indian Pond Heron

Indian Pond Heron/ Paddy Bird /Andha Bagla in Hindi (Ardeola grayii) an earthy brown bird with snow-white wings, tail and rump that take you by surprise as the bird rises in flight.  The neck is pulled-in when flying. Its near perfect camouflage makes it difficult to spot when not in flight.

It is seen at the edge of water bodies-rivers, jheels and ponds its shoulders hunched like an old man’s peering into the water until it spots a prey and picks it up with a sharp jab. It feeds on frogs, fish and insects. The pond heron will allow you to approach till you are very close before it chooses to fly off. This has led to the popular misconception that the bird has poor vision (‘Andha’ means ‘blind’ in Hindi).  It will sometimes wade in the shallows, its neck now craned and the long yellow bill ready to strike. Its back and shoulders turn red and it sports a crest of thin white feathers during the breeding season.

It roosts in large leafy trees in mixed congregations of crows and other birds. It nests during the monsoons and builds a large untidy nest of twigs in a large tree like mango that is shared with egrets. Eggs are greenish-blue.

Indian Pond Heron, Ghaggar at Chhamla,Morni hills (Photo courtesy Vikas Sharma)
Indian Pond Heron, Ghaggar at Chhamla, Morni hills (Photo courtesy Vikas Sharma)


  1. About Indian Birds; Salim Ali & Laeeq Futehally (2008)
  2. The Book of Indian Birds; Salim Ali (2002)