Egretta picata

General description: 

Bare part colours brighter during courtship, with iris orange. Juvenile has head all white and white carpal patch, which is only visible in flight.

Conservation status: 

Not Threatened.

Diagnostic description: 

Bare part colours brighter during courtship, with iris orange. Juvenile has head all white and white carpal patch, which is only visible in flight.

Behaviour: 

Size: 

43-55 cm, 210-327 g

Phylogeny: 

Taxonomy:

    Ardea (Herodias) picata Gould, 1845, Port Essington, Northern Territory. Frequently included in genus Ardea. Monotypic. (source: Handbook of the Birds of World)
Dispersal: 

Poorly known movements. Locally common.

Distribution: 

Distribution:

    N Australia and S Sulawesi; also New Guinea, Moluccas and Tanimbar Is, where probably non breeding visitor.
Habitat: 

Mainly coastal, occuring in grasland and swamps and salt or fresh water, mangroves, mudflats, sandbanks, also freshwater courses, lakes, rice fields. In NG forms feeding aggregations on recently burnt land. Sometimes feeds on dry land - Ocassionaly up to 1650 m in highlands on New Guinea.

Trophic strategy: 

Mainly aquatic insect, with crustaceans, amphibians, small molluscs and small fish. Sometimes scavenges other waterbirds. Often feed alongside livestock. Active feeder, not infrequently capturing prey by aerial techniques. Diurnal. In NG records of solitary adults defending feeding territories.

Reproduction: 

Nesting occurs during summer monsoon, mainly Feb-Apr, but sometimes Jan_jun. Generally forms large colonies up to 1200 nests, often mixed with other herons, ibises or cormorants. 2-5 m above water, 2-4 eggs. Chicks have yellowish brown to white down with dusky flanks.

Taxonomic name: