Great blue heron Ardea herodias, photographed by Walter Siegmund.

Belongs within: Ardeidae.

The genus Ardea contains the larger herons. Ardea species are generally (but not always) darker than the egrets of the genus Egretta, and lack powder down patches on the thighs. They are generally solitary nesters (Heather & Robertson 1996). Authors have differed over the assignment of some herons species to Ardea or to related genera such as Egretta, but the core members of Ardea include species related to the grey heron A. cinerea and the purple heron A. purpurea.

<==Ardea Linnaeus 1758 M02
    |--A. pacifica Latham 1801 JT12, R85 [=Notophoyx pacifica WS48]
    `--+--A. cocoi JT12
       `--+--A. cinerea Linnaeus 1758 JT12, M02
          `--A. herodias JT12

Ardea incertae sedis:
  A. agami [incl. Agamia picta] SS66
  A. atricapilla D66
  A. atricollis S66
  A. aurelianensis Milne-Edwards 1871 M02
  A. goliath M03
  A. gularis D66
  A. humbloti JT12
  A. ibis J06 [incl. A. bubulcus S66, A. ruficrista S66]
    |--A. i. ibis J06
    `--A. i. coromanda J06
  A. imperialis SU93
  A. insignis JT12
  A. leucoptera [incl. A. idae] S66
  A. melanocephala JT12
  A. novaehollandiae Latham 1790 R85 (see below for synonymy)
    |--A. n. novaehollandiae HR96
    `--A. n. nana HR96
  A. picata Gould 1845 JT12, WS48 [=A. (Herodias) picata WS48, Notophoyx picata WS48]
  A. piveteaui Brunet 1970 M02
  A. purpurea M03
  A. rupeliensis Beneden 1873 M02
  A. schistacea S66
  A. sturmi [=Ardetta sturmi] K08
  A. sumatrana Raffles 1822 WS48
    |--A. s. sumatrana WS48
    `--A. s. mathewsae Mathews 1912 [incl. A. s. gilberti Mathews 1912] WS48
  A. torra S89

Ardea novaehollandiae Latham 1790 R85 [=Notophoyx novaehollandiae WS48; incl. N. novaehollandiae parryi Mathews 1912 WS48]

Nomina nuda: Ardea effosa Meyer in Lepsius 1883 M02
             Ardea latipes Meyer in Lepsius 1883 M02

*Type species of generic name indicated


[D66] Dohrn, H. 1866. Synopsis of the birds of Ilha do Principe, with some remarks on their habits and descriptions of new species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 324-332.

[HR96] Heather, B. D., & H. A. Robertson. 1996. The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Viking: Auckland.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444-448.

[J06] Johnstone, R. E. 2006. The birds of Gag Island, Western Papuan islands, Indonesia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 23 (2): 115-132.

[K08] Kellogg, V. L. 1908. Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der Schwedischen Zoologischen Expedition nach dem Kilimandjaro, dem Meru und den Umgebenden Massaisteppen Deutsch-Ostafrikas 1905–1906, 15. Corrodentia, 4. Mallophaga. Almqvist & Wiksells Boktryckeri-A. B.: Uppsala.

[M03] Mayr, G. 2003. The phylogenetic affinities of the shoebill (Balaeniceps rex). Journal für Ornithologie 144: 157-175.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[R85] Robertson, C. J. R. (ed.) 1985. Reader’s Digest Complete Book of New Zealand Birds. Reader’s Digest: Sydney.

[S89] Salvadori, T. 1889. Viaggio di Leonardo Fea nella Birmania e nelle regioni vicine. XIX. – Uccelli raccolti nei Monti Carin a nord-est di Tounghoo, nel Pegù presso Rangoon e Tounghoo e nel Tenasserim presso Malewoon. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova, Serie 2a 7: 369-438.

[S66] Schlegel, H. 1866. Communication from, on mammals and birds collected in Madagascar. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 419-426.

[SS66] Sclater, P. L., & O. Salvin. 1866. On some additions to the catalogue of birds collected by Mr. E. Bartlett on the River Ucayali. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 566-567.

[SU93] Sonobe, K., & S. Usui (eds.) 1993. A Field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia. Wild Bird Society of Japan: Tokyo.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M. & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1-126.

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