Australian Birds, Australian Wildlife, Wildlife
Comments 8

Nankeen Night Heron – Ngalganin

Nankeen Night Heron Nycticorax caledonicus Lake Herdsman Western Australia

“When perched on the trees or resting on the ground, it exhibits none of the grace and elegance of those birds, its short neck resting on the shoulders” – John Gould, Handbook to the Birds of Australia, volume 2

As their name suggests, Nankeen Night Herons (Nycticorax Caledonicus) stalk marches and wetlands during the dark hours of the day, searching for insects, crustaceans, frogs and fish. During daytime these stocky herons can be found roosting, heads hunched onto the shoulders, in the dense canopy of the numerous Swamp Paperbark (Melaleuca rhaphiophylla) trees that surround Lake Herdsman. Although this colony counts between 20-30 individuals, none of those secretive birds leave the thick cover easily, making decent photography a job for the patient.

Nankeen Night Heron Nycticorax Caledonicus Lake Herdsman Western Australia

Apart from its nocturnal character, the cinnamon-brown colour has contributed to the other part of its name, as Nankeen cloth from Nanking resembles the adult bird’s plumage.

8 Comments

  1. Great pictures – especially for such a secretive bird! We have a similar one called a night heron.

    • It was a long but pleasant wait, Dries. I love it when there’s ample time to hang out with one subject, and learn about their movements and behaviour. Very relaxing in the meantime too!

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