Description: The White-faced Heron Egretta (Ardea) novaehollandiae is the
most commonly seen heron in Australia and has a length of 66�69 cm. It
is a medium/large sized pale grey bird with dark flight feathers giving
a two-tone effect to the wings in flight. The head is grey with white
around the eyes and it has a white stripe on the throat. The primaries
are black, while the breast has chestnut nuptial plumes. The upper
feathers are bluish grey, which is why it is also known as the Blue
Crane. The iris is yellow, the bill is dark brown, the legs and feet are
olive-yellow. Both sexes are similar in appearance, while immature birds
have grey feathers in place of the nuptial chestnut plumes and white
Habitat: Ranges from tropical to cool temperate shallow fresh to
salt water all over Australia. They may be observed resting in trees or
feeding in shallow water at; coastal mud flats & beaches, urban ponds,
river-banks, farm dams and shallow wetlands such as at Bushy Park.
Flight: Slow flapping
1 beat per second with neck usually folded and feet trailing behind. Two
tone grey and dark underwing feathers.
Voice: A harsh gravelly croak.
Food: Their diet consists of: fish, rats, small reptiles, eels,
frogs, yabbies, freshwater snails & molluscs, aquatic insects and their
larvae. They quickly straighten their curved neck and catch prey with
their stout long bill. When mice and grass-hoppers are in plague
proportions the White-faced Heron thrives. They usually hunt in pairs or
small flocks but breed in colonies.
Range of White-faced Heron
Breeding: The main breeding season is from September to December.
Colonies are usually small - five to 10 pairs, but may be quite large.
The site may be dead trees near water or in leafy trees a short distance
from water. They construct an untidy nest from a bulky shallow platform
of sticks 5-12 metres high in the tree. The usual clutch is 3-5 pale
smooth dull greenish-blue eggs 48x35mm. The chicks hatch in 24 to 25
days and fledge after 38 to 42 days.