December 11, 2018 – Javan Pond-heron (Ardeola speciosa)
Found in parts of Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, these herons are often seen in rice fields. They eat fish, frogs, tadpoles, and a variety of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, feeding while walking slowly, or striking at prey after standing still for long periods. They build twig nests in trees or bushes near water, solitarily, in small colonies, or in large mixed-species colonies with egrets.
November 13, 2018 – Striated Heron, Mangrove Heron, Little Heron, or Green-backed Heron (Butorides striata)
Sometimes grouped with the Lava Heron and occasionally also the Green Heron as the Green-backed Heron, these small herons are found in parts of Australia, South America, Africa, Asia, and on some Pacific islands. They eat crustaceans, mollusks, small fish, insects, worms, frogs, reptiles, and sometimes other birds, stalking their prey slowly, then stabbing it with their bills. Pairs build rough platform nests from sticks in bushes or trees over water. Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the chicks, sometimes raising two or three broods a season.
July 12, 2018 – White-bellied Heron or Imperial Heron (Ardea insignis)
These large herons are found in parts of Bhutan, northeastern India, Bangladesh, and northern Myanmar. They eat fish, crustaceans, and insects, hunting during the day in fast-flowing rivers. Nesting in trees, especially Chir Pine trees near water, pairs take turns incubating the eggs. Critically Endangered due to habitat loss and degradation and human disturbance, their population is estimated at around 70 to 400 birds.
February 10, 2018 – Madagascar Pond-heron, Malagasy Pond-heron, or Madagascar Squacco Heron (Ardeola idae)
Breeding in Madagascar and on some surrounding islands, these herons winter in parts of central and eastern Africa. Hunting alone, they feed on fish, frogs, skinks, and geckos, as well as grasshoppers, beetles, and other small invertebrates. They build their bulky twig nests in trees and bushes near water. Once nesting in groups of up to 1,000 pairs, they now often join other birds in mixed-species colonies. They are classified as Endangered by the IUCN due to habitat loss, the over-harvesting of their eggs and chicks, and competition for food with invasive fish species, which have contributed to a rapid decline in their population.
November 26, 2017 – Dwarf Bittern (Ixobrychus sturmii)
These bitterns are found in much of sub-Saharan Africa, except for arid areas. They eat insects, frogs, small fish, crabs, spiders, and snails, mostly hunting at night and at dusk while wading in shallow water or perching on grasses. Pairs build flimsy nests from twigs and grass stems in flooded bushes or trees. Both parents incubate the eggs and feed the chicks.
September 19, 2017 – Rufous-bellied Heron (Ardeola rufiventris)
These herons are found in grassy flood plains, swamps, and other grassy areas near water in parts of southern Africa. They eat small fish, frogs, crustaceans, aquatic insects, and worms, usually foraging alone while walking slowly in a crouch. Breeding during rains and floods, they nest colonially in reeds, trees, or shrubs near water, building their small platform nests from reeds and twigs. The chicks grow quickly, leaving the nest in around 17 days and fledging at around 24 days old.
June 11, 2017 – Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus)
These small bitterns are found in grassy areas and flooded rice fields in parts of South and Southeast Asia and eastern China. They eat fish, including eels, along with frogs, mollusks, and insects, foraging mostly at dawn and dusk and often roosting during the day. Their small nests are made from sticks, sedge, reeds, dry leaves, and grasses and are frequently located in rice fields and reed beds. Both parents incubate the eggs.