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White-faced Heron

Egretta novaehollandiae

Quick facts

Size: Averages 68 cm including bill and tail, 550 g.


Range and lifestyle: Common throughout Australia, they are typically found in shallow wetlands and damp grassy areas, also in coastal mangroves and tidal mudflats.


Food: Small fish, frogs, crustaceans and other aquatic invertebrates.

Breeding: They can be solitary but often breed in small colonies, usually between 5-20 m up a tree where they build a flimsy flat nest. The female lays 3-5 eggs.

  • ​​​In the breeding season they develop long plumes on their napes, mantles and backs, in common with many other herons.

  • They are increasingly found in man-made and temporary water habitats.

  • They are generally sedentary birds, however changes to climate and an increase in their population have made them nomadic at times as they seek new areas to colonise.

  • On coastal mudflats where these birds are easily visible, groups of up to 50 or more birds can be seen spread out over a large area.


Text © Detlef Davies 2022 CC BY-NC-SA

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