Pond Heron
The Indian pond heron or ‘paddybird’ is a small heron.  They are widespread and common but can be easily missed when they stalk prey at the edge of small water-bodies or even when they roost close to human habitations. They are however distinctive when they take off with bright white wings flashing in contrast to the cryptic streaked olive and brown colours of the body. Their camouflage is so excellent that they can be approached closely before they take to flight, a behaviour which has resulted in folk names and beliefs that the birds are short-sighted or blind. This was taken in the Gir National Forest in Gujarat, India.

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STUART MELVIN Wildlife Photography