New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Extra Dawn Chorus Trip

Date posted: 20-Oct-2016

Stop Press: Extra Dawn Chorus trip now scheduled for Thursday 27th October 2016. ..

2016 AGM

Date posted: 06-Sep-2016

The 2016 AGM was held at the Kohia Centre at 7:30 pm on Monday 19th September. Click here (/..

Reef Heron

Scientific name:

 Egretta sacra sacra

Maori Name:

 Matuku-moana

 

 

Conservation status

 Threatened, Nationally endangered

Mainland status:

 Most common in Northland, decreasing southward

Size:

 66cm, 400g 

Lifespan:

 14 years

Breeding:

 September - January

Diet:

 Small fish, crabs and molluscs

Reef heron - photographer: Ian SoutheyThe reef heron occurs in grey and white forms, but only the grey phase occurs in New Zealand. This slate-grey heron has a long heavy horn-coloured to yellowish bill and short yellow-green legs. In the breeding season, long plumes form on the neck and back.  The call is a guttural croak when disturbed or at the nest.

The Reef Heron eats mainly small fish, including eels and flounder, crabs and molluscs caught along rocky shores and tidal inlets where they live.

Breeding takes place between September and January. The nest, which is a platform of sticks and twigs, is built on rock ledges in caves or rock crevices, in clumps of flax or among the roots of pohutukawa. The two to four pale turquoise coloured eggs are incubated by both sexes for 25-28 days. Chicks fledge when 5-6 weeks old.

Reef Heron are decreasing in numbers due to increased human disturbance on the coast.  They are seen on the rocks around Tiritiri and have been known to nest on the Island, including the 2013-2014 season when two chicks were raised.

Learn more about the reef heron at New Zealand Birds Online.

Reef heron - photographer: Kerry Rodgers















Photography by:  Ian Southey © (right) and Dr Kerry Rodgers © (left)

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking. Moon, G The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds.