General Description

The upper body is red-brown and the underparts are white. The bill and the top of the head are black. There is a patch of yellow skin between the eye and the bill, and the legs and feet are also yellow. In the breeding season, this heron has two long white plumes on the back of the head. Young birds are streaked cream and brown with white spots on the wing. Bill to tail length is up to 65 cm.


Nankeen Night-herons are a mainly nocturnal species and are most active from dusk until dawn. During the breeding season (October to May) they will also forage during the day. They feed on small fish, crustaceans, insects frogs and lizards. Nankeen Night Herons are solitary hunters but also gregarious, often forming small colonies, especially if food is scarce. They nest in trees over water or large bushes. The female lays two to five eggs which are incubated by both parents.


Mainland Australia and Tasmania.


Freshwater wetlands and swamps.

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