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Natives

White-faced Heron

white faced heron

Egretta novaehollandiae (also known as blue crane)

Distribution:

Throughout New Zealand

Habitat:

Freshwater wetlands, coastal mud flats and estuaries

Diet:

Invertebrates in soil and water, frogs and tadpoles and small fish

Breeding:

Peaks in October

Nest:

A loose platform of sticks at the top of tall trees, near water

Eggs:

Three to five pale blue-green eggs incubated for around 25 days

Chicks:

Rivalry amongst the chicks is fierce and generally only two survive to fledge. Fledge at six weeks but stay wit parents until the next breeding season.

Predators:

No native predators

Conservation status:

Common; protected species

General:

Self-introduced from Australia, it is the most common heron in New Zealand. As it is now considered native, it enjoys protected status.

The heron hunts for food in the water by ‘foot-raking’ to disturb the sediment and drive small animals out of cover. Wings may be spread slightly to shade the areas to make it easier to see the prey.