White-necked Heron

Images ©:
©Bob Winters

Ardea pacifica


Large bird, up to 106 cm. Average weight 900 g. Long white neck with a double line of black spots running down the front. Upperparts black. Plum-coloured nuptial plumes on the back and breast during mating season. Underparts grey streaked with white. Naked facial skin is blue or yellow. Eyes are green. Legs and feet are black.


Details
Type
Bird
Group
Animals
Heron
Other Common Names
Pacific Heron, Necked Heron
Biology

Breeding season: mainly September to December (but can breed in any month if water is available). Clutch size up to six, usually three or four. Nest is a loose platform in a living tree such as a River Red Gum near or over water. Nests may be solitary or in loose colonies. They have regular movements in winter and spring in many areas.

Distinctive Markings

White head. Bill is black.

Taxonomy
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Ciconiiformes
Family
Ardeidae

Like other herons, the White-necked Heron has a special hinge mechanism at the sixth vertebra that allows them to rapidly extend their folded neck to catch unwary prey.


Interesting Facts
Diet

Carnivore. Feeds by wading in shallow water on fish, amphibians, crustaceans and insects.

Habitat

Found in fresh shallow water, including farm dams, flooded pastures and roadside ditches.

Native Status
Native to Australia
Audio
Sounds
A loud croak is uttered as an alarm call. Other gutteral calls are uttered at the nest.