Nankeen Night Heron

The nankeen night heron (Nycticorax caledonicus) is a compact, rather stooped heron with largish head-crown and nape black, short neck and short yellow legs. It has yellow eyes in a bare green face and the bill is strong and black-green. The upperparts are a rich cinnamon colour and the underparts whitish, washed buff. The immatures go through brown and white streaky plumage stages.

It feeds mainly at night in wet swamps and shallow waters for insects, crustaceans, fish and amphibians. In the daytime it usually roosts in heavily foliaged trees near water and away from pestering smaller birds.

The nankeen night heron breeds between September and February. The nest is a loose structure of sticks in a colony over water, with 2 to 5 eggs. The flight is heavy with slow flapping, and the voice is a large 'kyok' croak, usually heard at night.

It is nomadic in response to rainfall and is found Australia wide. (Contributed by Jo G.)