Much of this height is due to their long neck. This species is part of the bird family Arideidae, which includes herons, bitterns and egrets, and this family diverged from all other bird families 51.6 million years ago in the Paleogene Period!
It has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2007, because the global population is estimated at less than 250 mature individuals and it is threatened by disturbance and habitat degradation The white-bellied heron is found in the wetlands of tropical and subtropical forests in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas of India and Myanmar.
This is a solitary species that is most often seen alone or in pairs, and rarely in parties of 4-5, which perhaps are family groups. It feeds characteristically by standing in fast flowing rivers.
It also uses slow moving streams and grassy marshes. A white-bellied heron was spotted and rescued in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, in November 2019. Researchers installed a satellite tracking recorder on the its back and put on an ankle ring to monitor it and develop rescue measures.
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