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58â€“69 cm (22Â¾-27Â¼ in); a slender, graceful heron
Breeding birds have long feathers (nuptial plumes) on the head, neck and back.
North-west Australian birds are darker and separated as parryi.
Largely resident but with much wandering and makes regular movements away from on the coast in New Zealand.
Vagrants reported in the arid interior of Australia and on many islands including Sulawesi, the Moluccas and Timor, the Kai and Aru Islands off New Guinea, and Lord Howe Island, the Kermadecs, Auckland, Campbell and Macquarie Islands.
There are two subspecies:
Lakeshores and riverbanks, mangroves, shallow lagoons and on tidal mudflats and estuaries, sometimes rocky shores.
The nest is an untidy shallow bowl, constructed from sticks and usually placed on a leafy branch.
They have a very varied diet, consisting of fish, aquatic insects, amphibians, and in New Zealand they take the introduced Tree Frog.
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