(Nikon D5600, 200-500mm lens; 1/500, f/5.6, ISO125; hand-held)
Striated Heron (Butorides striata) aka Little Heron, Mangrove Heron or Green-back Heron, is a small, stocky resident heron of India and has a cosmopolitan presence across the globe. It has been seen in South America, Africa & Madagascar, south & east Asia, Australia, and islands of Pacific & Indian Ocean. It is usually associated with the mangroves of Old World tropics. It is identifiable by its small size, overall grey colour, black cap, distinct pale edges on wing feathers, mainly grey neck with white and rufous streaking on throat and a relatively thick, dark bill. However, widespread geographical plumage variation has been noted, which is reportedly the largest among the herons. As a result, 23 subspecies have been recognised and accepted so far. This heron is known to use ‘baiting’ technique for feeding by dropping a feather or leaf on the water surface and catching the fish that come to investigate. It is a solitary bird that feeds quietly, by standing patiently or moving very slowly. It is surprising that many aspects of its behaviour are yet to be properly documented.