Java Pond Heron Seeks Solace in Petulu

August 16, 2011
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Although not officially endangered, the Java pond heron still finds sanctuary in Petulu, Bali. The heron sanctuary also allows incredible ornithological observation for bird lovers on International Expeditions' nature travel journey to Bali and Komodo.

Measuring about 45 centimeters, the bird is brown and olive streaked with a golden brown head, chartreuse lores and yellow irises in non-breeding plumage. During the breeding season, their pale golden heads top a crest and neck of the same color, with two long, white crest plumes and a cinnamon colored breast. The lores stay the same color while the irises turn bright orange, according to the Heron Conservation.

There is an estimated 10,000 to 100,000 mature individuals that inhabit Southeast Asian countries such as Bali, Borneo, Cambodia and Thailand, BirdLife International reports. They are sometimes difficult to distinguish from other pond herons because their non-breeding plumage is so similar. However, it can be distinguished from the Indian pond heron by its black, not maroon back, and from the Chinese pond heron by its golden, not chestnut head.

Local Balinese legend claims that the herons are reincarnations of the men and women who died during the country's civil unrest in 1966 are buried near the roosting grounds.

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