Herons of the World

Sixty-five species of herons are recognized. Of these 29 are polymorphic having among them 100 currently recognized subspecies. HeronConservation advocates that conservation of herons occur at the local level in as far as possible. In that taxonomically recognized subspecies do not encompass the entirety of variation or of geographic dispersion, HeronConservation has identified 259 populations of conservation interest. These serve as the basis for conservation planning. The accepted list of heron species and populations, including accepted scientific and English common names is below. HeronConservation urges the consistent use of the nomenclature and ordering of this list for consistency across conservation activities.

Heron Taxonomy and Evolution
Heron taxonomy is complicated and evolving, especially with the use of molecular techniques to address questions of evolutionary relationships. No doubt changes in taxonomy and our understanding of evolutionary relationships will emerge over time. For additional information, please see Heron Taxonomy and Evolution.

Species Accounts
Accounts of the biology of each species are linked to the List of the Herons of the World, below which can be accessed by clicking on the English common name.  As mistakes are found and new observations and research become available, HeronConservation will correct and update this information. Scientists, conservationists, and heron observers are encouraged to contribute to correcting, adding, and amending the information in these accounts. This can be done through use of the comment functions at the bottom of individual species’ account pages. Please follow the format instructions, so that the information provided can be readily inserted into the corrected accounts. In this way, the heron scientific community can maintain an accurate and up-to-date review of the biology of each species. References cited within the species accounts may be found in the Bibliography of the Herons of the World. For additions and corrections to the species accounts, include full bibliographic references in the format of the Bibliography of Herons of the World. The Species Accounts should be cited as: HeronConservation. Year. Name of Species. www.HeronConservation.org. Accessed Day Month Year.

List of the Herons of the World
The following is a list of the herons of the world. The accepted scientific names and accepted English common names are presented in their recommended order. Also listed are geographic populations that have been identified as conservation units. Each species in the list is linked to its species account, which can be accessed by clicking on the English common name.

Species Name English Name Recognized Population
Ardea cinerea Grey Heron
cinerea, Sub-Saharan Africa (bre)
cinerea, W Europe, NW Africa (bre)
cinerea, C & E Europe (bre)
cinerea, Central & SW Asia
cinerea, South Asia
jouyi, E, SE Asia
jouyi, Sumatra
monicae
firasa
Ardea herodias Great Blue Heron
herodias, C & NE North America
herodias, W North America
herodias, W North America, N Mexico
herodias, Baja California, Mexico
fannini
wardi
occidentalis, Florida
occidentalis, Caribbean
occidentalis, Central America
cognata
Ardea cocoi Cocoi Heron
Ardea pacifica White-necked Heron
Ardea alba Great Egret
alba, W, C & E Europe, Black Sea & E Mediterranean
alba, SW Asia (non-bre)
melanorhynchos
egretta, North America
egretta, Mexico
egretta, Central America
egretta, Caribbean
egretta, South America
Ardea modesta Eastern Great Egret
E Asia (non-br)
Indonesia
Australia
New Zealand
Ardea intermedia Intermediate Egret
intermedia, South Asia
intermedia, E, SE Asia
brachyrhyncha
plumifera
Ardea melanocephala Black-headed Heron
Ardea humbloti Madagascar Heron
Ardea insignis White-bellied Heron
Ardea sumatrana Sumatran Heron
SE Asia
Australia
Ardea goliath Goliath Heron
Sub-Saharan Africa
SW Asia
S Asia
Ardea purpurea Purple Heron
purpurea, Tropical Africa (bre)
purpurea, SW & NW Europe, NW Africa (bre)
purpurea, C & E Europe, Black Sea, Mediterranean
purpurea, SW Asia (bre)
madagascariensis
bournei
manilensis, South Asia
manilensis, E & SE Asia
Ardea ibis Cattle Egret
ibis, S Africa
ibis, Tropical Africa
ibis, NW Africa
ibis, SW Europe
ibis, E Mediterranean, SW Asia (bre)
ibis, North America
ibis, Mexico
ibis, Central America
ibis, Caribbean
ibis, South America
ibis, Falkland/Malvinas Is
seychellarum
coromandus, South Asia
coromandus, E, SE Asia
coromandus, Oceania
Butorides virescens Green Heron
virescens, Central & E North America
virescens, Mexico
virescens, Central America
virescens, Caribbean
bahamensis
anthonyi
frazari
Butorides striata Striated Heron
striata, Central & South America
striata, South America
striata, Bolivia
sundevalli
brevipes
atricapilla
rutenbergi
rhizophorae
degens
crawfordi
albolimbata
chloriceps
spodiogaster
amurensis
actophila
javanicus
moluccarus, Moluccas
moluccara, NW New Guinea
solomonensis
idenburgi
flyensis
stagnatilis, N Australia
stagnatilis, NW Australia
stagnatilis, NE Western Australia
patruelis
macrorhyncha, E Australia
macrorhyncha, SC New Guinea, NE Queensland
carcinophila
steini
Ardeola ralloides Squacco Heron
SW Europe, NW Africa (bre)
C & E Europe, Black Sea & E Mediterranean (bre)
SW Asia (bre)
Sub-Saharan Africa
Ardeola grayii Indian Pond Heron
grayii, SW, S Asia
grayii, Myanmar, Bay of Bengal
phillipsi
Ardeola bacchus Chinese Pond Heron
Ardeola speciosa Javan Pond Heron
speciosa
continentalis
Ardeola idae Madagascar Pond Heron
Ardeola rufiventris Rufous-bellied Heron
Egretta rufescens Reddish Egret
rufescens,  S USA
rufescens, Mexico
rufescens, Central America
rufescens, Caribbean
rufescens, N South America
dickeyi
Egretta picata Pied Heron
Egretta vinaceigula Slaty Egret
Egretta ardesiaca Black Heron
Egretta tricolor Tricolored Heron
tricolor
ruficollis, USA (bre)
ruficollis, Mexico
ruficollis, Central America
ruficollis, Caribbean
Egretta novaehollandiae White-faced Heron
novaehollandiae
parryi
Egretta caerulea Little Blue Heron
North America
Mexico
Central America
Caribbean
South America
Egretta thula Snowy Egret
thula
brewsteri
thula, Mexico
thula, Central America
thula,Caribbean
thula, South America
Egretta garzetta Little Egret
garzetta, Sub-Saharan Africa (bre)
garzetta, W Europe, NW Africa
garzetta, C & E Europe, Black Sea, Mediterranean (bre)
garzetta, West Indies
garzetta, W Asia (bre)
garzetta, South Asia
garzetta, E, SE Asia
nigripes
immaculata
gularis
xschistacea, NE Africa, Red Sea
schistacea, SW, South Asia
dimorpha, Madagascar
dimorpha, Aldabra & Amirante Is
dimorpha, E African coast
Egretta eulophotes Chinese Egret
Egretta sacra Eastern Reef Heron
sacra
albolineata
Syrigma sibilatrix Whistling Heron
sibilatrix
forstersmithi
Pilherodius pileatus Capped Heron
Nyctanassa violacea Yellow-crowned Night Heron
violacea, North America
violacea, Mexico to Honduras
violacea, Socorro Island
caliginis
cayennensis
bancrofti
pauper
Nycticorax nycticorax Black-crowned Night Heron
nycticorax, W Europe, NW Africa (bre)
nycticorax, C & E Europe, Black Sea, E Mediterranean
nycticorax, W Asia
nycticorax, Sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar
nycticorax, South Asia
nycticorax, E, SE Asia
nycticorax, North America
nycticorax, Mexico
nycticorax, Central America
nycticorax, Caribbean
nyccticorax, northern South America
obscurus, S South America
obscurus, Falkland/Malvinas Is
Nycticorax caledonicus Rufous Night Heron
caledonicus
manillensis
pelewensis
mandibularis
hilli
Nycticorax leuconotus White-backed Night Heron
Gorsachius magnificus White-eared Night Heron
Gorsachius goisagi Japanese Night Heron
Gorsachius melanolophus Malayan Night Heron
SE Asia
Philippines
Palawan, Philippines
Nicobar Is
Botaurus pinnatus South American Bittern
pinnatus
caribaeus
Botaurus lentiginosus North American Bittern
Botaurus stellaris Eurasian Bittern
stellaris, W Europe, NW Africa
stellaris, C & E Europe, Black Sea, E Mediterranean, W & C Asia
stellaris, South Asia
stellaris, S & E Asia
capensis
Botaurus poiciloptilus Australasian Bittern
SW Australia
SE Australia
New Zealand
New Caledonia
Ixobrychus involucris Streaked Bittern
N South America
S South America
Ixobrychus exilis Least Bittern
exilis
pullus
bogotensis
erythromelas
peruvianus
Ixobrychus minutus Little Bittern
minutus, W Europe, NW Africa
minutus, C & E Europe, Black Sea & E Mediterranean
minutus, W & SW Asia
minutus, South Asia
payesii
podiceps
novaezelandiae
dubius
Ixobrychus sinensis Yellow Bittern
Seychelles
South Asia
E & SE Asia
Ixobrychus eurhythmus Schrenck’s Bittern
Ixobrychus cinnamomeus Cinnamon Bittern
South Asia
E, SE Asia
Ixobrychus sturmii Dwarf Bittern
Ixobrychus flavicollis Black Bittern
flavicollis, South Asia
flavicollis, E, SE Asia
australis, Australia, New Guinea
australis, Timor
australis, Rennell Island
australis, New Britain, New Ireland
woodfordi
Zebrilus undulatus Zigzag Heron
Tigrisoma mexicanum Bare-throated Tiger Heron
mexicanum, Colombia to Mexico
mexicanum, S Mexico
Tigrisoma fasciatum Fasciated Tiger Heron
fasciatum
salmoni
pallescens
Tigrisoma lineatum Rufescent Tiger Heron
lineatum
marmoratum
Zonerodius heliosylus New Guinea Tiger Heron
Tigriornis leucolophus White-crested Tiger Heron
Agamia agami Agami Heron
Cochlearius cochlearius Boat-billed Heron
cochlearius
zeledoni
phillipsi
ridgwayi
panamensis