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1 March 2012 Natural Hybridization between a Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) and a Chinese Pond Heron (Ardeola bacchus) in Japan
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Abstract

Reports of hybridization among herons are not uncommon but usually document interbreeding within genera and in captivity. An inter-generic hybrid pairing between a male Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) and a female Chinese Pond Heron (Ardeola bacchus) was video-recorded in a mixed-species heronry in Japan. In June 2010, nest-building behavior and copulation by the interspecific pair were observed. In August 2010, a juvenile possessing intermediate characteristics of the two species was fed by the female Chinese Pond Heron. These observations indicated that a fertile intergeneric hybridization occurred between the two species. The Chinese Pond Heron is an irregular visitor to Japan, but has been recorded more often in recent years. A rare species such as the Chinese Pond Heron might choose heterospecific mates rather than abandoning all chances of reproduction.

Miyuki Mashiko, Masahiro Fujioka, Kimiyuki Moriya, Taichi Hagimoto, Masumi Yamaguchi, and Yukihiko Toquenaga "Natural Hybridization between a Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) and a Chinese Pond Heron (Ardeola bacchus) in Japan," Waterbirds 35(1), 160-163, (1 March 2012). https://doi.org/10.1675/063.035.0117
Received: 2 October 2011; Accepted: 1 December 2011; Published: 1 March 2012
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