The White-Faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) is a common medium-sized bird found in Australasia – Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia, and New Zealand.
The White-Faced Heron is pale grey with white facial markings on its head, crown, chin, and throat. It has a dark-grey beak and grey, green, or dull yellow eyes. It has yellow legs and feet.
It can grow to 70 centimetres (28 inches) tall.
The White-Faced Heron can be found near shallow water – freshwater or saltwater – such as wetlands, dams, grasslands, marshes, mudflats, and ponds.
It feeds on aquatic creatures, such as fish, frogs, reptiles, and insects. It finds its prey by standing still in shallow water and waiting, or by walking slowly in water moving their neck from side to side to feel their prey. They also feel their prey against their legs.
It is a solitary bird and sometimes is found in small groups. They are territorial during breeding season.
Both male and female White-Faced Herons build their nest, sit on the eggs, and care for the chicks. Their nest is made of stick on a high branch of a tree. Females lay 3-5 pale-blue eggs, which hatch after about 25 days.
The parents guard the chicks for 3–4 weeks and the chicks leave the nest about 40 days after hatching, when they have all of their feathers.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM