Herons, Egrets & Bitterns

Ardeidae

Twenty-five species have been recorded in Australia, only one of which is endemic, the common and familiar White-necked Heron Ardea pacifica. Eleven appear as vagrants, while the remainder breed in Australia but have wider distributions, beyond the continent. Moderately tall, with extended neck and pointed bill.

Australasian Bittern

Australasian Bittern

What does it look like?  Cryptically-plumaged dark to mid-brown and pale buff, with the markings of the throat and back arranged in a longitudinal pattern. When disturbed it freezes, with its head and bill pointing skywards, the longitudinal pattern mimicking the surrounding reeds of the wetlands within which it lives. In this way it usually avoids detection, although the white of the throat can betray ...
Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

What does it look like?  Smallest of the Australian egrets, this bird should not be larger Intermediate Egret, which occasionally occupies similar habitat. Both species have a yellow bill (unlike the Little Egret, which has a predominantly black bill). The Cattle Egret walks with a very obvious back-and-forth head movement. For most of the year it has almost entirely white plumage but, during the ...