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Nankeen Night Heron - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Neil Fifer
Shot near Sydney, Australia, September 2003

Alternative name: Rufous Night Heron

Nycticorax caledonicus


55–65 cm (21¾-25½ in)

  • Short heavy black bill
  • Short think neck
  • Greyish-black crown and nape
  • Long white (or rufous) supercilium
  • Whitish face
  • Greenish-yellow lores and skin at lower mandible base
  • Upper parts variable from pale cinnamon to maroon
  • White underparts have a rufous wash


Photo © by Ken Doy
Cleveland, Queensland, January 2018

Breeding: two or three long white crown plumes. Blue lores during courtship. Irises are red to orange. Legs turn bright pink or red.


Philippines and Sulu Archipelago, north and west Borneo and Sulawesi, Moluccas, New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Palau and Solomon Islands and New Caledonia. Also breeds over much of Australia except the arid interior.



Photo © by Ken Doy
Sandy Camp Rd Wetlands, Queensland, Australia, November 2018

Six subspecies recognized[1]:


Inland and coastal fresh and brackish water. Swamps, rivers, streams and mangroves. Permanent and temporary flooded grassland.



They have a very varied diet consisting of small fish, amphibians, crustaceans, shrimps, reptiles, insects and occasionally eggs.


They construct a nest platform out of sticks, in a colony, near water. The clutch contains 2-5 light green eggs which are incubated for 22-day; followed by a 42-49 day fledging period.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2018)
  3. Heron Conservation

Recommended Citation

External Links

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