NATIVE. COMMON. RESIDENT.
DISTRIBUTION: A widespread species from eastern Indonesia, south throughout Australia and eastward to the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, New Caledonia and New Zealand.
HABITAT: Particularly successful in New Zealand due to its ability to inhabit almost any wetland environment, from roadside ditches to the margins of lakes and even marine environments.
BREEDING: The breeding season varies widely with locality but mainly peaks from October to December. 3-5 eggs are laid in a nest which is comprised of an untidy pile of sticks, typically in a small isolated grove of tall trees. Incubation takes 24-25 days and both parents share the role. Chicks fledge at 38-42 days.
FOOD: The bulk of the Heron's food intake is aquatic insects and their larvae, also tadpoles, frogs, molluscs, freshwater crayfish (koura), frogs, small reptiles and occasionally small fish.
VOICE: In flight, a gutteral 'grr-aw' repeated at short intervals.
GENERAL: The most abundant Heron in New Zealand. The White-Faced Heron usually forages alone, sometimes defending quite distinct territories. However, in winter it will often feed and roost communally.