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Breeding biology of pond heron in Kerala, south India

K. Seedikkoya, P.A. Azeez, E.A. Abdul-Shukkur

Abstract


Regular intensive investigations to locate nesting colonies of Pond Heron were carried out during early monsoon of 1999 up to 2002. For detailed study a few breeding colonies were selected. The nesting trees, nest characteristics, eggs characteristics, incubation, hatching and hatchlings were documented.

Pond heron used altogether 17 plant species for nesting. Materials from 24 plant species were used for building the nest. The mean maximum size of the nest material used was 29.05 cm and the mean minimum size was 13.46 cm. The clutch size in the species varied from 2-5 and clutches of three were very common. The maximum and minimum length and breadth of eggs were 48.0 x 32.0 and 33.3 x 24.1 respectively. Eggs varied in weight between 17.8 and 11.2 gm. Both male and female take part in incubation that extends to 18-24 days. Hatching success reached 82%. Pond Heron food consisted mainly of fishes and both parents took part in feeding the nestlings.


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