7/11/2009 Indian Pond Heron a potential first for Kuwait
On 7/11/2009 at Al-Abraq I photographed a bird that seemed to me like an Indian Pond Heron, although previous records of this bird were not accepted according to George’s Gregory Book ‘The Birds of The State of Kuwait 2005″ available from OSME website at http://osme.org/osme/sales.html.
The bird looked at first smallish ( I figured out later that the Indian Pond Heron is slightly smaller than Squacco Heron) and darker upperparts, chocolate brown although some Squacco Herons can show similar darker upperparts, the bill looked a bit strong and also stouter towards the tip where in most Squacco Herons the bill gets finer towards the tip. The legs were greenish yellow rather than yellow, as most juvenile Indian Pond Herons show this leg colour, although some juvenile Squacco Heron can show this as well. Also the bird had a dark loral line although it is faint but the upper mandible in front of eye is also dark. In most photographs in the internet a Squacco Heron shows an unstreaked white broad line running from throat to belly dividing the breast streaks, in Indian Pond Heron this line is thin or doen’t exist. There may have been other birds that have been overlooked in Kuwait in the past.
The news were delayed until the bird was confirmed by Richard Porter, Simon Aspinall, Tommy Pedersen and Oscar Campbell. Oscar Campbell emailed me saying Hi AbdulRahman In my opinion, the main reasons for this being IPH (or rather not Squacco) are: 1 Dark shading forming a line on the yellow lores between eye and bill (this seems to be a very good character, but a few genuine IPHs don’t show it). 2 Rather solidly dark, drab brown back, almost with a maroon brown tinge to it (Squacco should be paler, more grey – buff and not so solidly dark). 3 Neck streaking is heavy; streaks are thick, dark and rather well defined; not vague and fading out at the lower end. Note that all the above make Squacco very unlikely (impossible, hopefully when taken in combination) and also, on my limited experience, make Madagascar Pond Heron unlikely also. However, I don’t know much about either Javan or Chinese Pond Heron to say anything about them (apart from the fact that they should be geographical non-starters). Hope this helps kind regards OSCAR
Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii a potential first for Kuwait