The White-bellied Heron is the second largest heron in the world, with adults standing at well over a metre tall.
Much of this height is due to their long neck. This species is part of the bird family Arideidae, which includes herons, bitterns and egrets, and this family diverged from all other bird families 51.6 million years ago in the Paleogene Period! The main threat to this species is widespread loss, degradation and disturbance of forest and wetlands. Habitats have become degraded as a result of pollution, growth of aquatic vegetation and over-exploitation of resources. This species breeds in the Namdapha Tiger Reserve, India and it occurs seasonally in several other protected areas. There is a project studying this species and also trails for captive breeding.
- Order: Pelecaniformes
- Family: Ardeidae
- Population: 70-400
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 127cm
The species is found in the eastern Himalayan foothills in Bhutan and north-east India to the hills of Bangladesh and in Myanmar
Habitat and Ecology
This species is found by rivers, often with sand or gravel bars, adjacent or within to subtropical broadleaved forests, up to 1,500 metres above sea level. This is a solitary species, which may aggregate in small flocks during the winter as they frequent inaccessible and undisturbed areas. This species breeds in Chir pine forest.