|Positive ||RosinaBloom ||On Dec 6, 2012, RosinaBloom from Waihi
New Zealand wrote:
In the 1960's numbers of the White-faced Heron expolded, and it is now New Zealand's most common heron. Though they had been occasionally spotted in the nineteenth century, breeding was first recorded in 1941. Both sexes look alike, and in breeding season legs and feet turn pinkish, blue-grey plumes develop on back, upper breast feathers lengthen, and chestnut colouring intensifies. Their wide choice of diet comes from rocky shores, sandy beaches, mudflats, swamp margins, inland lake shores, up rivers, dams and creeks of hill country farms. They eat crustaceans, worms, spiders, molluscs, insects and vegetable matter, trout fingerlings, and not soley on trout as was suspected. They foot-rake while hunting, striding through the shallows, pausing every two or three metres to stretch out a leg and drag the foot rapidly back and forth, apparently to disturb small fish and invertebrates. It may stir the bottom by turning around two or three times as it rakes before darting off. Often the wings are slightly spread as if to shade the water surface, and increase the bird's ability to see below. Little is known about their courtship. In courting flights birds fly with necks outstretched, calling vociferously. Nesting starts as early as June in the far north, but birds in colder regions do not breed until early summer, peeking in October. They always choose the crown of tall trees near water, and their nest is the usual platform of sticks which is so loose that the pale blue-green eggs can be seen from below. Three to five eggs are normally laid, and incubation is shared by both parents for about 25 days. Rivalry among the chicks is intense, and it is rare for more than two to be alive after their first 10 days. They stay in their nest for the whole six weeks of fledging, and remain with their parents until the next breeding season. When nesting is over, flocks of 20 or more feed together, and it is not uncommon to find 50 to 100 in a single night roost.