White-faced Heron

Egretta novaehollandiae

The White-faced Heron is a blue-grey bird with long legs, a long neck and a white face. They are fairly common around Canberra. They are not usually seen in suburban gardens although there are instances of these herons coming into gardens to look for fish in ornamental ponds. They stalk aquatic prey, such as fish, frogs, small reptiles and invertebrates, in the shallows.

There are more observed from April to August and fewer during January and February, when they are away breeding. Numbers reported were very variable during the survey period, and were higher in later years. This may be due to a site next to the Curtin horse paddocks and its nearby creek where many have been recorded since 1993. There has also been an increase in the number of sites adjoining urban and rural lakes and dams. White-faced Herons nest singly in trees, but occasionally nest in loose colonies in the inland in times of flood. R=69. BR=83.

These highly mobile birds with long, down-curved bills and featherless heads, do not often come into gardens but do appear, sometimes in large flocks mixed with Australian White Ibis, on Canberra playing fields. They are also seen flying high in large flocks over the region.