Nankeen Night Herons

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A pair of Nankeen Night Herons at the Melbourne Zoo


Nankeen Night HeronsThe Nankeen Night Heron, Nycticorax caledonicus, also commonly referred to as the Rufous Night Heron, and in Melanesia as Melabaob, is a medium-sized heron.


Distribution / Range

It is found throughout much of Australia except the arid inland, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Melanesia.

A small colony has also established near Wanganui, New Zealand



The Nankeen Night Heron stands about 56 - 66cm tall.

It is not strictly nocturnal. It often feeds during the day, especially during wet weather.


Diet / Feeding

The bird is dependent on a diet of small fish, reptiles, insects and sometimes eggs.

It can be seen around freshwater rivers, lakes, bulrushes, estuaries, harbors and in residential fishponds for goldfish.


Calls / Vocalizations

Voice: Loud "K-oark", deep-throated rumbling at roost.


Nankeen Night Heron, Nycticorax caledonicusBreeding

Nesting: Primarily breeds September - April. A nest platform is built of sticks in a high tree near water, in communal groups.

Eggs: 2-5 light green. Incubation 22 days. Fledge 42-49 days.



Widespread throughout its large range, the Nankeen Night Heron is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened


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Nankeen Night Heron, Nycticorax caledonicus

Nankeen Night Heron, Nycticorax caledonicus

Nankeen Night Heron, Nycticorax caledonicus


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