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Pied Heron. Queensland, Australia. by Ralph de Zilva

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Pied Heron. Queensland, Australia. by 


Nikon D700 & Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G lens + Nikon 1.7 teleconverter.

Featured in
Queensland’s South East on 17.08.2012
Around The World in March 2012

The Pied Heron, also known as the Pied Egret is a bird found in coastal and subcoastal areas of monsoonal northern Australia as well as some parts of Wallacea and New Guinea.

The species was originally described by ornithologist John Gould in 1845. Some taxonomists put this species in the genus Egretta. There are no recognised subspecies.

It is a small heron, 43–55 cm long, with dark slaty wings, body, and crested head, with a white throat and neck. The appearance is similar to the White-necked Heron. Males (247–280 g) are heavier than females (225–242 g), but the two are similar in appearance.

Immature birds lack the crest as well as the dark colouring on the head and may look like small versions of the White-necked Heron. The juveniles were once classified as a separate species.

Its habitat mainly comprises a range of wetlands and wet grasslands.

The call of the Pied Heron is a loud ‘awk’ or ‘ohrk’ in flight. Soft cooing is given around the nest. Little else is known about vocalisations.

Breeding takes place from February to May. It nests in trees above the water, including mangroves, often colonially with other species of heron. 1–2 blue-green eggs are laid in a shallow platform of sticks.

It feeds on insects, frogs, crabs, fish and other small aquatic animals. Insects are the most important source of food. It may feed alone or in groups of up to a thousand individuals.

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I have always had a love of capturing images and in my early teens took many photographs on my little Kodak camera. I loved the wild open spaces and bird life in particular and longed to be able to be an accomplished photographer. It took ill health and a forced early retirement to re-kindle this love of photography. I am a self-taught amateur photographer who has had no formal training. I take great pride and joy in my work and these days have the time to pursue this wonderful hobby.

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  • Julie  White
    Julie Whitealmost 3 years ago

    Superbly captured Ralph.

  • Thanks a lot Julie for your comment and fave.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • Thomas Eggert
    Thomas Eggertalmost 3 years ago

    Great close up Ralph..!!!!

  • Thanks very much Thomas for your comment and fave.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • miroslava
    miroslavaalmost 3 years ago

    Fantastic capture !!!! Never knew that such a bird existed !

  • There are many types of Herons but I think this will have to my favourite. Thanks for the comment.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • Warren. A. Williams
    Warren. A. Wil...almost 3 years ago

    Great shot, have not seen this one around my part of the world.

  • Thanks Warren, you don’t get them that far. Only in and around Australia.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkealmost 3 years ago

  • Thanks Ray.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • AndreaEL
    AndreaELalmost 3 years ago

    Stunning capture Ralph, such amazing plumage and colour.

  • Thanks very much Andrea for the wonderful comment.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • BlueMoonRose
    BlueMoonRosealmost 3 years ago

    Never mind about his white face! Look at that magnificent coat of blue feathers he is wearing! Adding him to my Favourites!

  • Oh, I forgot that blue is your favourite colour. Thanks very much Kathryn for the terrific comment and fave.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • Renee D. Miranda
    Renee D. Mirandaalmost 3 years ago

    Congratulations Ralph, your work has been featured in Around the World.

  • Appreciate the feature, thanks so much Renee.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • Vicki Spindler (VHS Photography)
    Vicki Spindler...almost 3 years ago

    Wonderful capture!!!! :)))))))))))))))))))

  • Thanks a lot Vicki.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • Rita Blom
    Rita Blomalmost 3 years ago

    A magnificent catch Ralph! A very beautiful bird. Have never seen one. I live in Sth.Aust. have travelled right up to top end, Gulf & Que. but never been lucky enough to see this beauty. His blue and white feathers are so striking. In my bird book it describes it as the Pied Heron. We do have the White Faced Heron but doesn’t have plumes base of neck and back of head, and yes they love to visit our fish pond. We live in a rural area we see them often in the paddock.
    Congratulations on your feature and a definite Fave for me.

  • At times I wonder why a bird is not given a specific name and stick to it. I think every bird is called at least two or three different names and that confuses all of us, doesn’t it, lol. Thanks so much Rita for your lovely comment and fave.

    – Ralph de Zilva

  • Rita, I doubled checked this bird and you were absolutely correct. It is a Pied Heron and not a White Faced Heron. Thanks so much for the information.

    – Ralph de Zilva

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