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Common Name : Grey Heron     -       Scientific Name : Ardea cinerea       -       Other Name : Kalapu Koka (S)
Panikkar Villu
Borupan Pitiya Wala

This is a common breeding resident found in the low country. It is found in Europe, Africa and Asia. Four subspecies have been recognized.

  • A.c.cinerea is found in Europe, Africa and Western Asia including Sri Lanka.
  • A.c.jouyi is found in Eastern Asia.
  • A.c.firasa is found in Madagascar
  • A.c. monicae is found in Mauritania.


The conservation status of this species is regarded as Least Concerned (National Red List 2012).

Grey Heron is a species protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

These are solitary birds. I have observed this species on the edges of lagoons, marshes and such other wetlands throughout the low country. It is more common in the dry lowlands than in the wet zone. It is very common in the Mannar Island, Jaffna Peninsula and the East coast. I have also observed them in the Delft Island, Palaithivu, Eluwathivu and Analathivu islands of the cost in the North. I have seen them in all the dry zone National Parks in the country and forested lagoons and marshes. This is not a species that is usually seen in the hills but I have recorded it on two occasions (August 2007 and May 2002) at the lake Gregory in Nuweraeliya at an altitude of 1820 meters above sea level. In the wet zone it is not as common as in the dry zone but I have regularly seen it at Bellanwila Attidiya, Muthirajawela and at the Beira Lake in Colombo.

This is a very common species at Wilpattu National Park and can be seen at most large water bodies.